Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Xmas - Steam Purchases 2013

As always,  Christmas period and Steam are evil.  This year was cheaper than last at the very least.

In no particular order (prices for those I remember):

  • X-Com Enemy Unknown + Enemy Within ($20)
    • I own Unknown on Xbox but deciding to play it instead on PC via controller once the expansion came out.
  • Shadowrun Returns (Gift from Prae as got him Burnout Paradise)
  • Unepic
  • Pool Nation (3 copies, myself, wife and Prae)
  • Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
  • Civilization V: Brave New World ($15, copy for myself and wife)
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Eldritch
  • Don't Starve
I also got a few just before it that I will include here as well:
  • Dishonored Game of the Year Edition
  • Tomb Raider 2013 ($10)
  • Small World 2 ($10)
  • Elder Sign: Omens ($10)
  • Doom 3 BFG Edition ($5)
  • Tomb Raider Collection (minus TR1 due to TR: Anniversary) (~$12)

Tabletop Buys - Roleplay - Strands of Fate / Strands of Power

Strands of Fate @ BGG
Strands of Power @ BGG

A few weeks ago, I talked with Tmara about Eberron and how much we missed it. I had attempted running it 2-3 times on a forum once before but never followed through. It is by far the BEST setting that our household loves dearly.

So what does this have to do with the FATE system Strands of Fate (and the supplement Strands of Power)?

Void Star who did the Strands of Fate rendition of FATE have also done a conversion document for the races/dragonmarks/classes into Eberron! You can find the document here as well as one for Shadowrun and a blank campaign sheet.

I've only read up to the end of Character Creation at present in the Strands of Fate book (Digital copy until we can get a softcover sent to Australia) and hence don't know all the ins and outs but from what I have read: It will be perfect for Eberron. Not to mention, the wife was making a campaign setting of her own and I think this genreless/universal system will be a good base to jump off to begin with!

The base idea of the system that I love is that making the character is all about description. There is numbers you have to do with ability scores but the whole design of the character is very much you telling the base bits of your character in description first that then translates into the character sheet in one way or another. It allows for more freedom than say D20 systems attempt. The basis of classes too is very flexible from what I have seen. In D20, you'd be restricted to skills per class but this one is very, very flexible.

I'll comment more on it when I've read more of at least attempted making characters soon.

The summary of what Strands of Fate is from their site is below. The wiki page for what FATE is here as well.


Strands of Fate contains everything you need to tell stories of adventure, action, horror, and intrigue set in any genre. Whether it’s classic fantasy, urban mystery, dashing super heroes, or far future action, this book is your guide. Strands utilizes the FATE roleplaying game system and provides the Game Master with all the tools he needs to get any campaign, of any genre or power level, off the ground and running in minutes.

Strands of Fate features:
  • A system of Advantages that provide you with fully functional magic, psionics, mutations, cybernetic enhancements, or any other strange power you can imagine.
  • Rules for creating and playing with vehicles, from pirate ships to star ships to ten story tall battle mechs.
  • Support for non-human races or even transhuman characters.
  • A system for creating and controlling units and organizations, and using them to play out regional or world spanning conflicts.
  • Antagonists and equipment to challenge and aid your characters, whether they’re knights, modern soldiers, or star hopping androids.
  • While Strands of Fate is a stand alone product, its "toolkit" design allows it to be used to enhance other FATE games by providing an array of compatible optional systems.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tabletop Gaming - First Impression - Firefly the Board Game

Firefly the Board Game @ Board Game Geek

This was my present for the wife and I for Christmas and it hit off better than I anticipated! We heard the comments post-release of at least one aspect of the game that rang sour for people and we experienced that in our 2nd game but ultimately: We still love the game a LOT. 

We love Firefly/Serenity and this game is very well done to bring out that dangerous, risky business.

Our 1st game was the additional Story Mission from the game site called "First Time in the Captain's Chair".

This game was only 75 minutes long and we never felt anything to be a problem and understood all the rules just fine. It was successful in execution with our thoughts. We hadn't come across the cruelty of losing one's contraband for a mission in that play.

The 2nd Game (The King of all Londinium) was longer. It clocked in at almost 3 hours but for good reason.

I found my progression slow to get where I needed to be but that was just my own fault while Tmara had her contraband taken from her when I placed an Alliance Cruiser on her space. Until she learnt to stop trying to get Nav Cards where Salvage Ops appeared and to start doing missions with some extra equipment.

In the end, Tmara clawed her way from nothing to win! This was impressive and I loved that I lost because it literally was neck and neck at the end there. If Tmara hadn't dived into the last Goal (all hail River Tam!) I was one Full Burn away from my attempt and I would have just as easily completed it.

To add insult to injury, the planet for the last goal had Reaver on it and while doing a Full Burn, Tmara drew Reaver Bait and then evaded it to end on the Goal planet to solidify her success!

Here is the final look of the game board for Game #2

It was an epic win to a longer than normal game but it was 100% fun.

Now, onto our impressions.

The game is fantastic for our Firefly itches and the length is respectable but it can derail for a player if something goes wrong. But the major thing is, if it goes wrong, it's because you risked it too much like going on Full Burn through Alliance Space with contraband without a Cry Baby upgrade or something akin to that. It is risk vs reward and it works.

The only downside we saw was not so much player interraction except for being able to screw over other players when they Full Burn and a bad card comes up (where another player does the shifting of the Alliance Cruiser/Reaver Cutter) or by giving Disgruntled Crew a better offer to jump ship.

The first expansion that is coming will infact add Piracy to the game where you can attack another player and steal their cargo/contraband/etc. The game therefore shows promise that the developer knows what it needs to enhance the game further.

The main aspect we want to see is more Story Cards. They are fantastic and varied! The 3rd game we'll be playing this weekend will be one that everyone starts out with a Warrant and has to make $12,000 before they can retire. He/she who gets their dictates the game is about to end and everyone has to take off their cash the Pay of a mission they have yet to complete and see who has the most money left in the end. It sounds fantastic and very different from what we had just done!

Overall, very impressed and love now having a Firefly game on the shelf to relive or live on the 'Verse in our household!

And as per always, we aim to misbehave!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tabletop Gaming - First Impressions - Forbidden Island

This will be the first of my First Impressions as there is usually a long time between playing the game for the first time and feeling comfortable doing a review, therefore the First Impressions was born and starts here.

We just got this game today as our Secret Santa and decided it was time tonight. Over a glass of sparkling Merlot (anniversary gift from in-laws), we found the game was VERY easy to set up and just as easy to understand.

Eventhough we saw it on Tabletop over at Geek & Sundry, and we needed a slight refresher as it has been a few months since we saw it, it was very easy to pick up and play.

At this point, we love trying to find games that aren't so hard to learn to play or grasp at the rules so we can get the family (who aren't as into board gaming as we are) and infect them with the bug from time to time.

From this one game, this first impression: Forbidden Island will be one of those games that we will pull out and show them after we have a few games under our belt. It was simple to understand, simple to do a turn (approx 10-15 seconds, if that, per turn including drawing/resolving of cards) but the execution of trying to win was a little bit more of a challenge.

We did our first game just now at the novice difficulty as the Engineer (wife) and Diver (myself) and it didn't look at any point that we would lose but a few of the Water Rises! cards could have turned the tide (pun intended) on our game. We kept on the ball, kept locations shored up and let others sink to the ocean floor when we didn't need them anymore or they didn't pose as an issue to our victory.

The game ended as a victory, took no more than 30 minutes to get onto the helicopter and to safety.

Forbidden island is a huge thumbs up from us as a nice, quick game that on harder difficulties will have us pulling our hair out. The game is definitely a different addition to what we own and hence it'll be hitting the table as often as we can.

Lifting off the Island!
Again, thanks to Ranni for bringing it to our table as the gift!

XMAS - And now the Secret Santa to me has arrived!

So this is what spurred me on to do the delayed draft over this busy period. As Tmara and I were leaving the house today, there was a small Barnes & Noble parcel on our front doorstep. This was odd for us since it is a Saturday today!

For my last few days, this parcel was a much needed smile on my face!

I have a parcel coming with a present for Tmara and I (one we know of, Firefly the Board Game & Shattered Timelines expansion to Sentinels of the Multiverse) and after a round trip of the city and back to the main depot AND then now it being on the courier here in Mount Gambier, it wasn't delivered at all yesterday. No idea why. I could only guess they had so much to do that it wasn't gotten to and will arrive Monday. It didn't stop me though looking out the window today hoping it would arrive.

Instead, this arrived!

This was a present out of left field. It completely blew me away. This is a game we watched on youtube on Tabletop (Geek&Sundry) and I loved the idea of it BUT I never added it to a wishlist here on this blog or on BoardGameGeek as I forgot to. So to see it end up at our doorstep was a.. well.. pleasant isn't the right word. It just blew me away and turned my frown upside down!

Forbidden Island from what we saw reminded me of Pandemic in nature where you need to do as much as you can before the game defeats you, almost like a puzzle, but with Forbidden Island it is the fact there is no 'cure' like Pandemic and instead you are trying to get off the island before it sinks. We're now home alone as the 14 year old just went to his dad's in Tasmania for Christmas and the next 2 weeks, we're looking forward to breaking this out asap to learn it before he returns :D

Now, with all that blathering over and done with, comes the other reason I laughed out loud in the car when I opened the parcel: the subject of who my Secret Santa was!

My secret santa was none other than Ranni Moonbeam/Teresa Tuggle! The same one I had! As Stephanie Morrow mentioned in email to me before, she couldn't help but chuckle at the fact that we both had randomly become each other's secret santas! 

Ah the fun of how the dice fall :D

Many thanks again to Stephanie/Stargrace and Teresa/Ranni! You both made my Xmas and I am glad I did the same for Teresa. Time to prepare for next year :D