Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scythe and other boardgames

Lots of boardgames on my table recently, so nothing really interesting to write about.

Scythe is the new addition to my boardgaming shelf.

It is a great game, with excellent solo module. As I received it at the beginning of this week, I played just one game so far, on normal difficulty, and I was cleared out of the table before I even realized what is going on. My next game will be on easy mode, in order to help my learning curve :)

From other games, I play a lot of Imperial Settlers solo, and I'm planing to start a campaign soon.
One other old favorite found its way back to my table - Field Commander Napoleon.

I also tried to play again Elder Sign, but it returned quickly back to the shelf. The risk minimizing games with dominant luck element do not appeal to me any more in the same way as they did when I was younger.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Darth Agnan's High Stakes

Ganesha Games is preparing a new light storytelling d6 RPG. The game is in the Beta Testing phase, and I am lucky to be one of playtesters, especially having in mind that this is extremely solo friendly RPG.

For my first play through, I decided to continue my Star Wares campaign following adventures of young Sith Darth Agnan and his friends, stormtroopers Athos, Portos and Aramis.

Previous adventures of the group (played using different rule sets) can be found here and here.

Here are the stats for our heroes, using High Stakes character creation mechanics:
Back at his corvette "The Guillotine", Darth Agnan wants to interrogate Ewok prisoner.
Task difficulty 4.
Darth Agnan uses Aura 4 + 1 from Trusted by common folk trait. He also decides to rise the stakes - if he fails Ewok will die during interrogation process, and Sith will loose face, by gaining epithet of Ewok killer + 1  for the total of 6 dice to be rolled.
After some dice exploding, I ended with 3 successes and 3 complications. So....
Ewok committed suicide by releasing Ogam gas from device hidden on his body (presence of gass is complication 1). I am using the fact that I rolled a 6 (which was later exploded) to add a story telling element - Darth Agnan was ready for this, so he upgraded his Sith suit with Ogam gas-mask. He is unaffected by gas in the room. But (complication 2) after detecting Ogam gas in the room, ship automatically locked the prison room away from the rest of the corvette, leaving Darth Agnan locked inside. Furthermore (complication 3) Imperial headquarters are automatically informed about presence of the Ogam gas on "The Guillotine", and they are sending a cruiser to destroy the corvette in order to avoid further ecological catastrophes. 
Aramis tries to reconnect ships ventilation system in order to transfer Ogam gas from prison cell to other, unused room and to refill prison with fresh air.
Task difficulty 4.
Aramis uses Mind 4 + technician trait +1 + he knows the ship +2 tactical dice.
It is success, but with 1 complication - Ogam gas was transferred to the gun turret, and in this way crew lost control of the ship's main weapon.
Portos uses his Body 5 to break the door to the prison cell (difficulty 2). Success with a complication - breaking electricity circuits in the door made ship transfer all its power to life support systems. All lights in the ship turned off, and team has to return to the cockpit in absolute darkness.
Darth Agnan taps his Light saber trait for automatic success of easy task. Guided by the light of his saber, team safely gets to the cockpit....
...only to see the imperial cruiser approaching and taking attack positions.

Athos contacts commander of the cruiser, trying to persuade responsible persons that Darth agnan should be given a chance to save his ship.
Aura 3 + knows people 1 + friend with political elite 1 + rising stakes (loss of the ship) 1 vs task difficulty 3 - success with one complication and one Story element - Tweelek female Admiral Baaaang (story element) agrees to give one chance to the team, but if the first success fails, she will destroy the corvette immediately (complication).

Aramis and Darth Agnan take the two seat Tie Fighter. They will try to destroy gun turret without damaging the rest of the ship. Aramis will do the actual shooting while Darth Agnan will do the piloting.
Task difficulty 3.
Body 2 + Strategist trait 1 + Wants to be general relationship 1 + help from the Pilot trait +1 to total of 5.
Image result for tie fighter game
Success with one story element and one complication.
Aramis made a clear shot, so clear that he managed to separate gun turret from "The Guillotine" without damaging either one of them. But turret filled with Ogam gas was pulled by gravitation of the nearby planet, and soon it was lost among debris orbiting it.....

"The Guillotine" was beamed by cruiser into repair bay. It will take some time and lots of money to repair the ship.
Our heroes are not a step closer to solving the mystery of the Ogam gas. Further more, container with deadly load is lost somewhere in inhabited space, and there is a big danger of falling into wrong hands. And our heroes have no means to go after it....

To be continued.....

Impressions: High Stakes works great as solo RPG. System of Story elements and Complications really drives story onward, player never knows what will happen next.
Once it gets published, this system will be highly recommended for all soloists.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Improvised Subbuteo football

Since my kid collected some weighted figurines from the supermarket chain, I tried to explain him how they can be used for gaming.
Here comes improvised Subbuteo football.
Star wars/Frozen/Ninja Turtles figurines are used as players. We are simulating football played in a home yard - five players, no goal keepers.
Playing field was made from old green blanket and some Ikea railroad tracks. Enough for the evening of fun.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Steambots (Microscope history session part 1)

Microscope is one of my favorite storytelling games.
And it's been a wile since I played with it, so it itched my fingers to try it again.
I also noticed that for Microscope linguistic randomizes do better job for me than the graphical ones (for action oriented RPGs it is other way around), so I decided to use Random Event Generator from  Game Master's Apprentice cards.

I wanted to do a steampunk history, so pallet said yes to steam machines and smooth-bore firearms, and no to magic.

History started with the rebirth of civilization, and ended with the period of great silence - a time when nothing happens for a longer period.

As usually, I have 3 persons involved in making history. There would be me, yellow player and green player. This time, I decided against creating personalities for dummy players.

First pass saw me adding an event in the end period - Eternal Emperor rules over the submitted masses.

Yellow player, inspired by "Awakened tool" created a period of steambots - steam powered machines with artificial intelligence in the service of men.

Green player, inspired by "Lost Tourist" made an event within yellow player period - famous seamen Captain Turbot forgets his steambot cook Jork on the deserted island.

I was the one selecting first focus, so I opted for "What makes steambots tick?"

Within yellow player's period, I created an event first, explaining how scientist Isak invented micro-steam-chips, that were used to create first steambots.
Then, within this event I made dictated scene (all scenes in this game will be dictated) asking a question "what are the limitations of steambots?"
I explained that micro-steam chips produce heat that needs to be cooled by water. This water turns into steam that further makes micro-steam-chips run. For all this, steambots need water, which they suck from air moisture.
Therefore, intelligent steambots can exist only in wet climate zones. In the deserts and in the other dry lands, people still need to use human slaves.

Yellow player, inspired by "Divide Anger" made an event within his own period: Safety mechanism (similar to Asimov's First Law of Robotics) is implemented in steambots. If a steambot tries to hurt human, it will trigger his self-destroying mechanism.

Green player, inspired by "Divide Attention" reacted to that by explaining how steambots learned that if the humans get hurt by accident while they are performing other tasks, self-destroying mechanism will not trigger.

Finally, as a lance, I created a new period - Artificial Intelligence serving no one but itself.
Within that period I created an event where Jork returns from the deserted island and starts teaching steambots to the new philosophy of freedom - how machines are self-sufficient and have no obligation to serve humans.

Yellow player then selected a legacy: Silence of the Monument - Jork on the deserted island.
Inspired by  "Release source" he made an event where Jork dreamed his philosophy during dry period, which he spent immersed in island's only spring. Additional cooling of the running water made his chips run better, and he become enlighten.
To be continued.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ivory Tower

One of the things I share with my 6 years old boy is reading children literature. So far, I am still reading the novel, and he listens.

Last night, we finished reading Neverending Story by Michael Ende. So this morning, my son decided to build Ivory Tower and surrounding labyrinth using the wooden bricks he found at his grandparents house.

I have to say that I am very proud with his achievement, as he did everything by himself.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Who messes with kobolds? - Oldbook adventure

It's been almost a year since I left my D&D hero Oldbook standing in front of the kobold cave
Finally I found time to move on with the adventure.

One would expect at least some guard in front of the kobold cave, but there was no one.
First cave had two doors at the bottom. One was locked, so Oldbook decided to go for the other one. It led to the kobold armory, that also served as a stable for riding giant lizard. As the beast was chained to the wall, Oldbook easily avoided it.

There was nothing among the kobold armor and weapons that our hero cold possibly want, so he moved on.

Next room was some kind of office. Lone man was working by the table. Noticing Oldbook, accountant run out of the room in panic.

Oldbook decided not to go after him. He check the desk and found lots of documents with proofs that innkeeper was cooperating with kobolds. Bard took the documents and returned to village, presenting them to the chieftain.
Innkeeper was immediately arrested. He was surprised with the situation. It seems that accountant never bothered to inform his boss about unwanted guest in the office.

Next thing Oldbook did was to return to the office within the kobold caves. Accountant was still there, working as if nothing happened. Bard called on him and persuaded the man that he can be a better employer than the innkeeper.

Later that day, accountant organized a meeting between Oldbook and old kobold shaman.
Yes, kobolds could explain everything about the grave below the Deepcold, but not for free. There was the question of the illness that was weakening the tribe. Tribe can only by cured by a meteor stone owned by the witch living in the caves deeper in the mountains (Rory Story Cubes - falling star + cauldron). If Oldbook manages to bring the stone to the shaman, he will tell his story...

To be continued....

Monday, August 29, 2016

Micro Rome

Among the print and play games there are gems for solo play that should not be omitted.
Micro Rome by Michael Bevilacqua, and it's expansion Aegyptus is such a game.

The game is fairly simple. It contains 17 two sided cards. The player draws a card, selects which of the two available sides to use, and places it over previously placed cards following simple rules (at least 3 fields of the earlier placed cards need to be covered, buildings need to be covered completely, etc.)
Expansion brings 8 new cards, new placement rules and scoring possibilities.
And that is it. Simple but effective and highly addictive.
Micro Rome can be played as light pastime in 15 minutes, or as a serious brain burner, in which case it will take more time to decide the best placement of the drawn card.
Anyway, no solo gamer should be without a copy of this game in the collection. Files for this game are free on BGG, so go get them.

Highly recommended.