Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not a whole lot of gaming....

Two years ago, when I first began writing Games on the Table, it was a time in my life when I played lots of board games and spent a ton of time researching games and using Board Game Geek. I did those things because it was possible at that time. I had lots of time to think about tabletop gaming, and I had so many thoughts about games that I finally decided to start writing this blog. My life was full of gaming, and this was an outlet.

Back then, I had two children, and now I have three. Back then, I didn't have nearly the amount of music to compose that I do now. Now that I'm composing music for Children of the Gods, I always have work to do in my free time - the same time slot I use for blogging. And I expect that my music workflow will only increase. Back then, my wife and I regularly had time for board gaming. Now, we rarely have a time slot long enough to sit down for a game, except for the occasional weekend slot or the rare week night.

We love board gaming, but lack the time for it. I still play board games once a week with my gaming group at work, and we sit down at the roleplaying table once or twice a week with members of that same group (we're currently playing Questers of the Middle Realms for the first time).

I had a great time making the Brief Overview video series. I appreciate all of the encouraging feedback you all sent via this site or Board Game Geek. I wish I could make more of those vids.

Since my wife and I only have short chunks of free time here and there, and most of our time includes our little halflings, we've found casual computer games to be a nice diversion. I've been keeping a little blog about casual games. If you like, you can follow my casual gaming news and reviews there.

As things are, I am effectively "shutting down" Games on the Table. I'm going to leave the blog here just in case someone remembers something they read at one time and want to access it again. I may even post in the future - who knows? But, those of you faithful followers who access the site frequently, don't expect updates anymore.

You know how it is. You can only handle so much on your plate in life. Once the plate is full, you have to start setting aside the less important portions to make room for the more important bits. At this point, Games on the Table has fallen into the "less important" category.

If, for some reason, you desire to follow the goings of my life and work, you can track me here. You can find my twitter info there. You are also welcome to email me anytime at the email address listed on the right-hand side of this blog. And, of course, I'll be hanging around Board Game Geek (eventually geekdo), so you can message me there too.

I wish I could keep up on all of my hobbies, but I am having to give many of them up as my family grows up. And so, I bid you all farewell from the game table, with a hearty thanks to everyone who followed the blog, subscribed to the blog, and especially those who took time to comment on the blog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dominion expansion trial run and Geekdo

Dominion: Intrigue on trial

Last week my gaming group sat down at lunch, eagerly anticipating our first play of Dominion: Intrigue (I had played it only once at home with my wife before then). Everyone quickly got busy reading the text on each card as we laid out the randomly chosen set of 10 kingdom cards. There was brief commentary on artwork, questions about specific card rules, and we dove in.

As would be expected, we started playing with fascination at the new combos and possibilities, reminding ourselves frequently what this or that card allowed us to do.

Before long, though, Swindler was on the loose, and not long after, Saboteur showed up in a couple of people's decks. Expressions became more and more grim as card after card was added to the trash pile. There goes one guy's Harem. Ouch - that guy lost another Gold card. Hey, the Saboteur got another one of my Duchies!

It took about half the game to realize we weren't in familiar territory anymore. Our old comfortable strategies were useless. With the kingdom card set we were using, there was simply no way to afford a Province (although one lucky chump managed to buy a single province). I saw this trend and started focusing on Silver - low cost and valuable.

Gripes were only half-jokingly tossed about as people questioned the fun of the new set, leaving me wondering, "Will anyone ever want to play this again?"

Though decks were small and the trash pile large, I enjoyed it personally. I like having to readjust my strategy to each new combination of kingdom cards. I just hope I can convince the rest of the crew that this is a feature of the game, not a flaw. My silver plan almost worked (I ended up with only 2 kingdom cards in my deck), but the guy who got a Province beat me by one point....


With much gladness, I have been participating in the beta test of the new RPG Geek, which will actually just be a part of the new comprehensive Geek site known as Geekdo - The Way of the Geek. BGG and RPGG will be combined into this one site. So far, it's a bit complicated, but it seems to be working well. RPGs are definitely trickier to catalog, and I've been frustrated at the limitations placed on non-admin users when adding various RPG-related data to the database.

I know that once everyone sees the new system they'll be calling out, "Okay, now what about Video Game Geek? Book geek?! Movie geek?!" It's staggering how much work the admins must have put into just getting the RPG element scripted. Yow.

RPG fans, look forward to Geekdo.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dominion expansion in my hands!

Dominion: Intrigue is now mine. I've sleeved the nearly 500 cards. I've read through most of the manual. Now I just need to play it.

This time around, the art seems a smidgen better than the first Dominion set (which seemed weak artistically to me). Franz Vohwinkel participated in some of the card art this time. It's always a delight to see such excellent artwork as his. Unfortunately, there's still some really bland, uninteresting art.

One thing that mattered to me was the kingdom card balance. Here are the stats on the new kingdom card types:

16 x Action
4 x Action - Attack
2 x Action - Victory
1 x Action - Reaction
1 x Treasure - Victory
1 x Victory

One cool thing I learned from the manual is that when you are attacked, you can play as many reaction cards as you have. So, if you had both, you could play a Moat and a Secret Chamber, gaining both benefits.

Now, I'll just mention a couple cards that caught my attention while I was browsing and sleeving (which reminds me of the movie Roxanne - the scene where Roxanne says to Charlie: "I thought you said 'earn more sessions by sleeving.' " What a classic scene.)

To begin with, we have this nasty masked fellow who calls himself the "Torturer."

The ability text reads:
Each other player chooses one: he discards 2 cards; or he gains a Curse card, putting it in his hand.
This is the Witch of the new set, in that he's the one guy who can give you Curse cards. You'll notice that, like the Witch, he costs 5 money to buy, but whereas the Witch allows you to draw 2 cards, this fiend allows you to draw 3 cards. The only other difference between this card and the Witch is that this guy allows attacked players to choose their poison - discard 2 cards, or pick up a Curse (which goes to the hand rather than the discard pile, so it doesn't sting quite as much as the Witch. Heck, the other player might have a Chapel or Remodel in his hand to deal with that Curse on his very next turn). So, this card seems to be similar to the Witch, but it's better for all parties involved.

Next, we join the blacksmiths in their sweet-looking metal shop.

The ability text reads:
Gain a card costing up to 4. If it is an...
Action card, +1 Action
Treasure card, +1 money
Victory card, +1 Card
Admittedly, the main thing that drew my attention to this card was the art. The only light illuminating the work of these sweaty brutes is the light of their molten swords. It's just a cool-looking picture.

Still, the ability is interesting. This 4-cost card, when played, gains you a free 4-cost card and a choice between three other benefits. This could come in handy as a wild card of sorts. Sometimes you need one ability, but all you have is the wrong ones. This card allows you to choose which benefit you need.

There are a batch of other interesting cards from what I've seen so far, but I'll let you discover them for yourself.

By the way, I must have been out of the loop because I only found out yesterday that Dominion won the 2009 Spiel des Jahres award. I'm glad the judges didn't find the game to be too complicated. I mean, really, the game deserved it. Nice work, Mr. Vaccarino!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New blog

You'll notice that I've removed all of the casual game posts I had made. I realized that there were just too many. That's what I was playing, so that's what I was posting about, but I realized it was starting to go against the theme of this very blog.

So, to keep things organized properly, I've created a new blog.

If you are interested in casual computer games, head over to my new blog: A Game For Everyone.

You can read about good deals there, as well as reviews and news.

In other news, my game order has shipped from Boards and Bits, so expect to hear about the Dominion expansion soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy anniversary to my wife!

Today marks my 9-year wedding anniversary, and my wife continues to be the woman of my dreams. "The Queen" is my nickname for her, and she is still my royal treasure after 9 easy years of marriage bliss. In honor of my dear wife, I'm going to highlight her favorite games today. So, if you're interested in wife games, you might want to pay attention!

My wife's top pick:

Race for the Galaxy

Image by kilroy_locke at BGG

My wife's favorite game mechanics seem to be:
  • hand management
  • set collection
  • card drafting
She also likes colored groups of things, cards, and low-conflict (multiplayer solitaire).

Almost all of these features are present in Race for the Galaxy in some measure, but especially hand management. My wife really likes being able to control the constantly changing hand of cards, and then using those cards to control her tableau (play area) for maximum benefit. I agree that these features make RftG an outstanding game, and it still holds slot #2 on my personal top 10 list. This is one of the few games that my wife and I enjoy equally. My only complaint about this game is that a lucky set of early card draws can set you up for the win. There are killer combos, and it rocks to be the person who draws them.

Somehow, my wife almost always gets lots of Alien combos, and frequently has military power to boost her Alien strategy. It's uncanny. I probably win about 1 out of 7 or 8 plays.

My wife's other favorites:

Wyatt Earp

Image by Geosmores at BGG

This game has hand management, set collection, and colored groups, which explains why my wife picks Wyatt Earp so often when it's her turn to choose the game.

We always cringe when one of us finally plays the Hideout card instead of just discarding it. The feared Hideout card is the one attack in the game that really hurts. Fortunately, it doesn't get played very often, unless it's a desperate situation.

We both like the Western theme to the game. My wife is always willing to play this one.

Thurn and Taxis

Image by swiftcorp at BGG

I think my wife really likes that there is no way to directly attack others in Thurn and Taxis. I agree with her - I typically prefer games where you can safely work on your own position without worrying about being targeted.

This game has colors, cards, and a unique mechanic for building postal routes. It's very simple to learn and play. All these features, I think, make this one of my wife's top picks.

Lost Cities

Image by Araneuz at BGG

Lost Cities is an example of a game I am glad to not play, but which my wife loves. You can see why - cards, colored sets, and a bit of hand management as you decide what to hold, play, and discard. Also, you're mostly just building your own position, even though it is easy to manipulate each other's options. I see this game as just another Reiner Knizia numbers game. The theme is cool, but doesn't factor into gameplay in any way. I think my wife likes the simplicity of designs like this. If you're looking for wife games, you've probably heard about this one. As much as I don't like this game, I actually would recommend it as a wife game because so many wives are reported to like it.


Image by Martin Ralya at BGG

Just look at the picture above. It's a deck of cards in 4 colors and a bunch of tiles in six colors. You manage a hand of money cards, you pay for colored tiles, and you build your own nice little city. My wife has chosen this game many times. We find that it works best with two players, which is great since most of our plays are at home, with just the two of us. We actually haven't played this one for a while. I'm sure my wife will want to pull it out again once she's played a few more games of RftG. If you're looking for a good 2P game to play with your spouse, you might want to give Alhambra some attention.

Thanks for reading, as always. Happy anniversary, my Queen!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacation gaming and more!

I'm on vacation this week. Every year at this time we spend a week with my wife's family for the 4th of July. Vacation time means gaming time.

Games ON the table

So far, only one game has been played, and that game is Dominion. I introduced the game to my brother-in-law on Monday, and that's all he's wanted to play since (and I'm not arguing). So far, we've logged 11 plays of Dominion. Our 7th play ended in a clean tie. We had had an equal number of turns, so there was no tiebreaker. As I've mentioned before, I love when games in in ties. I like when different strategies lead to the same result and players can share in the victory. My brother-in-law finally won a few plays today and he was very glad. I got his computer all set up with BrettSpielWelt so that he can play online if he wants to. He loves Dominion.

I also noticed that BrettSpielWelt has already incorporated new Dominion expansion cards. I played against someone yesterday morning and had the pleasure of trying out a couple of these new cards for the first time. One of these, the Baron, I found to be a welcome addition to the game because it gives you something interesting to do with Estate cards. The Baron (as I remember it) allows you to trash an Estate to gain +4 money for the turn. If you don't do that, you may choose to gain an Estate card.

I keep checking Boards & Bits to see if the Dominion expansion has arrived yet because once it does, my game order ships.

You like wine?

If you've read (or skimmed) this far, thank you. To close the Games on the Table vacation post, I'm going to leave you with some wine recommendations. My father-in-law always has a stash of great wines on hand, and we taste many of them during the week, often side by side and with cheeses and foods. Below, I'll give some feedback on the wines I enjoyed this week. All are highly recommended by yours truly.

Castoro Cellars 2008 Fume Blanc
- My top pick of the week!

This white wine is just excellent. It manages the sourness of a pinot grigio alongside the sweetness of a riesling. The complexity and flavor through and through make this wine one that I would enjoy at pretty much any meal. My father-in-law reports that you can pick this wine up for a great price at Trader Joe's (which is where you will find all the good wines for great prices in my experience). I'd say this was the favorite of the menfolk this week.

Peachy Canyon 2006 Para Siempre

While the $40 price on this wine doesn't make it that much better than many cheaper wines, this rich and complex red is very tasty. I didn't sense many obvious distinct flavors here, but the overall experience was very good, which explains the high price. All three of us who tasted it agreed that it had a silky thickness to it that made it smooth and complex from start to finish. When it first touches the tongue, you can tell this is a well-balanced wine. As it moves back, the flavor spreads into the rest of the mouth, and finishes with very little warmth and no sting. We were all pleased with this selection.

Castoro Cellars 2007 Muscat Canelli

When you want a dessert wine, you can't go wrong with Muscat. The apricot/peach flavor is here, as it is with Barefoot's Moscato, although, I still can't tell whether or not I like this more than Barefoot's. It's not quite as simple and light as the Barefoot Moscato, which could be a good thing. This was the favorite of the ladies this week.

Happy 4th of July to all of you American readers! Thank you for reading, and may you have good summer gaming!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dominion strategies

(This is written for those who know the game Dominion - otherwise it will probably just sound confusing.)

I've played Dominion a lot of times now - 20-something in person, and a bunch on BrettSpielWelt. So much of the time, players (including me) have thought the Remodel card to not be a whole lot of use, but yesterday one of the players put it to good use.

Early in the game, he drew a Thief. I didn't want to get hosed by the Thief, so I decided to avoid collecting money and instead draw a bunch of Festivals. From turn to turn, I seemed to keep having enough money to buy Festivals. But as I went, he was starting to remodel one thing after another and was soon drawing Provinces. This had me nervous - I had never seen someone do that before. I knew I needed to hurry.

By now I had a small deck loaded with Festivals. I knew that I needed more card-drawing if I was going to have large enough sums of money each turn to buy Provinces. So I started buying up Council Rooms. On the last few rounds, I was able to lay down sets of Festivals and Council Rooms which gave me enough money and buys to purchase two items per turn. This turned out to secure my comeback. At scoring time, we were both sure he had won, but upon counting and recounting, I had pulled in 32 points to his 28, thanks to my Festival/Council Room combo. Still, on the next game, Remodel was available again, and my buddy was back to his Remodel strategy, sure it would work this time....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dominion expansion

My boardgaming news

Right now, I have a board game order in with Boards & Bits which includes the expansion for Dominion. Dominion continues to be the game I want to play all the time. I'm really looking forward to this expansion. It can only make the game better. My friend also ordered Red November on this order, which I have wanted to try without buying, so now's my chance. Anyone else excited for the Dominion expansion?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Brief Overview video #9: Race for the Galaxy

Here it is at last - a brief overview of Race for the Galaxy, as was requested. Yes, there are some details I left out, but I mentioned all of the features that I think are important for deciding if the mechanics are interesting to you. Race for the Galaxy is a difficult game to learn, but once you have played 3-5 games, you'll become comfortable with it, I think.

This is the last brief overview video you'll see for a long time. I just don't have time to keep working on these with my very limited free time. If I do any other such videos in the future, they are likely to be for much simpler games. Thank you for all the positive feedback I've received. I hope this RftG video will give you some idea of what makes this game work.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

News: A pile of recent thoughts and issues

Today I am writing for the purpose of recording all of my gaming updates in one shot. My time for writing only continues to diminish as my family requires more of my time and attention. Thank you for continuing to follow Games on the Table when I manage to get something posted.

Stolen penguins!

During the Christmas break, I had accidentally left my copy of Hey! That's My Fish! in the staff break room where my gaming group plays board games every Wednesday at lunch. When I returned from the break, I was pleased to see my game waiting happily for me on the counter where I had forgotten it. I had brought my teapot to the break room to clean it, and so I set my recovered game box on the recycle bin right next to the sink. For some reason I can't remember now, I had set a paper towel on top of the box. After rinsing my teapot, I walked back to my office. Late that afternoon, I realized that I had left my game in the break room once again! I hurried back to retrieve it only to discover that the box was not where I had left it. It wasn't on the vending machines, microwaves, counters, or refrigerator. It was gone. I checked all lost-and-founds, which turned up nothing. I contacted the head of custodial services, who kindly checked with his crew to see if they had seen the game box, which they hadn't. My conclusion: someone swiped my game. Hey! Those were my fish! I had enjoyed 26 plays of that game before the pilfering. It was one of my favorite filler games, but I just can't bring myself to sink the cash on another copy. Goodbye, little penguins. I'll miss you.

Download the Dice Tower Theme

The orchestral theme I composed for Tom Vasel's podcast, The Dice Tower, is now available for download from the Dice Tower website. You'll only hear chunks of this 3-minute piece of music on the actual podcast, so go download the track to listen to it in its entirety! (Look for the March 11 news on the front page of the Dice Tower website).

My new favorite game

A few months ago, I purchased Donald Vaccarino's card game, Dominion. Back when this game was being developed, and was frequently hyped on BoardGameNews.com, I was following it with great interest. Well, the reports were all true - this game is fantastic. I couldn't have imagined any game being more enjoyable than my other favorite games, but once I played Dominion a few times, it jumped right up to the top of my list. After one play, I wasn't sure how I liked it. After two or three plays, I thought I was starting to like it. After several plays, I really liked it. As of 20 in-person plays as of this writing, and many plays on BSW, I love it. Coming this month or next is the expansion for Dominion. If I can get enough people at work to join a game order, I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on Dominion: Intrigue. Vaccarino's design is just brilliant. He can expand Dominion to no end, keeping it greatly customizable, and highly replayable. This game provides much of the pleasure of a CCG, without all the downsides. Thank you, Mr. Vaccarino.


I'm still tracking the development of RPGGeek as much as I can. There is very little information about it. The last I read, it looks as if RPGGeek is going to be incorporated into the already-existing BGG as we know it. In this post Scott Alden indicates that "Board Games" and "RPGs" will be selectable menu bar items. This makes one wonder if such a menu bar will eventually include the other proposed "geek" sites, such as Books, Movies, and Video Games.

Brief overview series

I know there are a number of you who are eagerly awaiting my next brief overview video. Thanks again for the encouraging comments you've sent - I appreciate them very much. I am still trying to find a minute here and there to work on the upcoming Race for the Galaxy video. I don't know how much longer it will be. So, the fact that this video is indeed coming is hopefully good news to you. Unfortunately, I think I will put the brief overview series on the backburner after this next video. I recently spent some time calculating my daily schedule, and my free time comes out to almost nothing. Because of the other pursuits and priorities in my life which come before board games (family time, music composition, reading) I am having a hard time fitting in time for other hobbies, including blogging and the brief overview videos. There are so many things I enjoy doing, but currently, I have a list of 3 abandoned hobbies/interests, 14 backburner hobbies/interests, and 10 current and ongoing hobbies/interests. And the one that takes the most time - wife and children - isn't even on the list. It's just reality - a pleasant one, mind you - but it's reality. My family needs me, and as the years go by, I find that I must abandon more and more of my personal pursuits for the sake of others. Thus is life.

The sweet taste of pulp

My background in the pulp genre, as I've explained before, was nil before I played the RPG, Spirit of the Century. Listening to the Red Panda audio drama (which I highly recommend) helped me to understand the genre even more. Then recently, I listened to a free audio book as a podcast from Uvula Audio. The book was The Man of Bronze, by Lester Dent. This is one of the early Doc Savage stories, and from what I've gathered, this actually may have been the first (correct me if I'm wrong). While I don't think the story has enough angst for today's audience, I actually loved the story. Doc Savage is the kind of hero I like - he doesn't seem to ever make mistakes. The guy has no weaknesses. He's better than everyone at everything, and you can always count on him to have a solution. He has a group of other skilled guys helping him, and they spend the whole story adventuring in . . . I don't want to spoil anything for you. So, if you're interested in pulp, Doc Savage, or adventure at all, go listen to this free dramatic reading of The Man of Bronze!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why don't you play RPGs?!

According to the poll I ran on this blog, most readers are boardgamers. This got me to thinking.

Roleplaying, to me, is one of the most creative, well-rounded, and engaging forms of gaming. I'm surprised more people don't do it.

So, I'm posting today to give you an opportunity for some feedback. Please leave a response in the comments. Here's the question:

"Why don't you play tabletop RPGs?"

If you already play RPGs, don't answer. I'm trying to figure out the reasons people have for avoiding roleplaying. The way I see it, most of you are already geeks, like me. You already enjoy sitting at a table and gaming with friends for hours. What keeps you from crossing that line from board games into RPGs? Please be specific and personal. What are your personal thoughts on this? Would you be willing to play, given the opportunity?

Speak up! Comment below! Thanks, dear readers!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Escapist - roleplaying advocacy

I really wish there were more people in the roleplaying hobby. Folks may have any number of reasons for not getting involved in roleplaying, for instance:
  • they don't know such a thing even exists
  • they've heard stories about roleplaying which give the hobby a negative reputation
  • they don't have time to get involved in another time-consuming hobby
  • they feel that they lack the skills or imagination required to play well
  • they know all about RPGs, but they just aren't interested
  • they're interested but don't know how to get started
  • they want to play, but don't have anyone else to play with
Whatever the reasons, I still wish more people would give roleplaying a try. It engages many parts of a person's mind and stimulates creativity, among other benefits.

I'm not the only person who wishes more people would play RPGs. William J. Walton publishes a website and a podcast, both about roleplaying advocacy. He works hard to make the truth about RPGs known while dispelling myths. He sees RPGs as an educationally valuable experience in which all different types of people can and should participate.

I recommend visiting his website, The Escapist, and listening to his biweekly podcast, The Escapistcast. The amount of information Walton presents is astonishing. He seems to catch every mention of roleplaying in the news, and has a number of interesting projects he's working on for promoting the hobby.

If you love roleplaying and wish other people did too, head over to the Escapist and support Walton's work!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spirit of the Century actual play audio

I was searching the Net the other day for some Spirit of the Century (SotC) actual play for a friend of mine who plays in my regular group. He was looking for some well-done audio. Good news: I found some.

A simple Google search brought me to a page on archive.org which houses an ample supply of SotC actual play audio recordings. Some are scenes, some are full adventures. They're pretty much all done by Mel White who records the podcast, Virtual Play.

The quality of these recordings is impressive. Most of the other actual play audio I've sampled on the Web suffers from various problems, primarily these three:
  • The mic isn't good and it's really hard to hear everything that's going on
  • There is a lack of focus and players are constantly making jokes
  • The audio isn't edited down to the interesting bits, so you're forced to sit through all the tedium
What I love about Mel White's recordings is that he solves all three problems. His recording quality is good - you can hear all players. He keeps a lot of focus, so the adventure is always moving forward. (Part of this could be that I've been listening to sessions recorded at conventions. I can see where this kind of session would be conducive to game focus, in contrast to a group of buddies sitting around the basement table eating pizza, joking left and right.) While the audio isn't edited, as far as I can tell, it's really not an issue since there is negligible downtime.

But what makes these recordings really enjoyable to me is that Mel seems to really understand SotC. He knows how the game works, and he's good at guiding players to use the mechanics well. Listening to the situations in his adventures improves my own knowledge of the system, which will in turn improve my GMing.

If you want to hear SotC in action, download some of the files I linked to above and enjoy Mel's great work.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

News: RPG Geek and PDQ#

This week, the Games on the Table News Dept has some topics of interest for you.

The new Geek in town

Don't you enjoy those times when your life is energized by the anticipation of something good? So do I. And right now, I'm really looking forward to a treat that's coming down the pipeline for roleplayers: RPG Geek.

When it comes to board gaming, BoardGameGeek is the ultimate one-stop website on the internet. They have everything you could want: community, a marketplace, a complex and comprehensive database of all the board games you can imagine, all synchronized through and through. You can track your personal collection, track plays, write reviews and articles, upload files and images - it does it all. The site is a masterpiece, meeting all the needs of people in the hobby.

Just this week, the code for BoardGameGeek was rewritten to improve functionality. Part of the upgrade to BGG 2.0 included the ability to more easily transpose the structure of BGG to other hobbies. This has been one of the constant requests from the BGG community, and now Scott Alden and his team have done it.

The first known transposition will be RPG Geek. I'm looking forward to this. Imagine one database where you can look at reviews, images, user-created files, and where you can track your own RPG collection, all the while communicating with other gamers. There are good RPG sites and communities out there, but none that do everything, especially not with the quality of the BGG interace. Get ready, my roleplaying friends. This will be a sweet site.

I'll have my eyes on the progress and release of RPG Geek. When the site is up, you know you'll hear about it here.

Swash your buckles with the new PDQ

Although I haven't yet had the opportunity to actually play or run a game using the PDQ system, I do follow the happenings of Chad Underkoffler's work on his PDQ system. The system interests me because it is rules-light, and seems to share some of the qualities I appreciate in Spirit of the Century (Fate 3.0 system). I do own Tim Gray's Questers of the Middle Realms which is built on the PDQ engine and look forward to playing it.

In late 2008, Mr. Underkoffler made available an updated version of the PDQ core rules called "PDQ#" (PDQ Sharp). This version is specifically tailored to a swashbuckling game. It is this set of rules that the upcoming Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies will be built upon.

When I first read about S7S last year, I was immediately intrigued. The idea of sky pirates and airships is just sweet to me. The airships in the Final Fantasy video game series were always fascinating, and while I didn't play Skies of Arcadia, it looked cool, and I bought the soundtrack. I love the idea of airships/sky pirates/sky sailors. (I also tried reading Paul Stewart's The Edge Chronicles, but the gritty style had me returning the book to the library before I finished the first half of the book. Still, the morsels about sky pirates were cool.)

So I was pretty excited about the concept of S7S, until I read this page in Mr. Underkoffler's blog. While the bit about "setting-heavy" isn't attractive to me, what really turns me off is this statement:
S7S has intriguing (to me) sexual politics. Each Island has a different take on gender relationships; this is intentional. I'm afraid that people won't notice it. The inclusion, here, is intended to spark intriguing thoughts: a female Viridese Warmaster interacting with a Colronan Musketeer SHOULD bring up culture-clash. I crave it.

But will other folks find it as interesting as I do?
This kind of thing would quickly spoil the good parts of an RPG for me. First of all, I work to keep "sexual" out of all my hobbies except for my marriage. But even worse is if sexuality is tied up in a world's politics. I just don't know what to think right now regarding S7S. I wonder if PDQ# would enable playing in my own world of airships and cloud islands? I have yet to read PDQ#, so I can't determine that just now. It's on my list of things to do when I get the time. Stay posted for my thoughts on PDQ and S7S in the future.

The taste of pulp

In another session or two, I'll finish the current adventure I've been GMing. It's in a fantasy setting, using the SotC rules. After that, one of the other guys is taking over as GM for a standard SotC game, by the book, with a few little mods.

In the past, I would have said, "I don't really want to play anything other than fantasy. That's part of the fun for me." I'm a big fantasy fan, hence my love for the fantasy setting in roleplaying. But now that I've been exposed to SotC, through reading the book and playing it, I've really come to appreciate the pulp genre. My tastes have adjusted to the point that I'm actually eager to play in the pulp setting now.

So, I'm psyched for the upcoming adventure, when I'll be sitting back into the player's seat. The guy who's GMing and I have been talking a lot about SotC, and how we can improve our use of it for the upcoming adventures. We've realized that we need to be much more active in our spending of Fate points and in performing maneuvers. We're also thinking of tweaking the skills system to use something other than the pyramid.

I also had a little burst of inspiration the other day and jotted down some neat ideas for the next SotC adventure I'll run. So much fun roleplaying, so little time. Drat!

So, thanks to the guys who created SotC, not only for a good system, but for writing a newbie's guide to the appreciation of pulp.