Dan

Mar 092017
 

RPG Review – 7th Sea Second Edition

7th Sea Second Edition cover

 

At A Glance -

For those of you who don’t know, 7th Sea 2nd Edition is a tabletop RPG set in “Theah”, a world very similar to 17th century Europe.

Pirates, heroes, political intrigue and secret societies in a world peppered with legends and lore, a pinch of sorcery, and a punch of corruption set the backdrop for the fantastic tales of your swashbuckling, savoy heroes.  All told with cinematic flare in this beautiful little 300 page gem by John Wick.

As most of you know, I don’t usually like to compare games that I’m reviewing with other games. That said, this is the 2nd edition of a game that I enjoyed very much so I think the review needs a little comparison to be complete. I really liked the original edition of 7th Sea.  It was a fun and refreshing look at the genre presented in a way that hadn’t really been done before.

The second edition is trimmed down a bit.  Sleeker mechanics and speedier action make for slightly fewer choices for the players but add so much more to the collaborative storytelling aspect of the game.

In short, I LOVE this edition!

Now that we have that out of the way,

On with the review!

The Book -

The book itself is absolutely beautiful.  The pages are filled with gorgeous and immersive landscapes, believable character portraits, and inspiring scene captures by a team of fantastic artists.  The rules are concise, with examples of execution, well laid out, and easy to find.

The Setting -

As mentioned before, the setting is roughly 17th century Europe with the names changed to protect the innocent.  This allows the players and GM to draw on the shorthand knowledge that they have about the real world country and/or culture upon which it is based.  The first 130 pages or so are dedicated to fleshing out Theah.  This section breaks down the individual countries, some of their collective views and values, a brief overview of the customs, important people, social strata, military, religion, etiquette, etc.  I wanted to just breeze over this section but wound up reading every word.  The attention to detail exercised here really comes through in the final product.  There is even a beautifully rendered coat of arms displayed for each one.  An important detail for a pirate campaign, methinks.

Be sure to click the link below to see a map of Theah!

7thSea_Map_1

The System -

The conflict resolution system for this game really sings.  It utilizes a d10 dice pool.  The size of your pool is determined not only by your stats, but also the type of action that you choose to take, as well as how you plan to portray that action in game.  In short, the more cinematic the action and immersed in the character you are, the more opportunities for success you have.  You are rewarded for using different types of actions in a scene, promoting the use of any and all skills that your character possesses.  This helps to eliminate the hack and slash feel that you get with a lot of games.  Sometimes it may make more sense from a productivity standpoint to just slash with your sword again instead of punching the bad guy in the jaw, even though in a lot of cases the right hook would just feel better.  This game rewards that sentiment.

This game approaches scene setting in a manner very similar to the medium that inspired it…

You guessed it, swashbuckling movies!

The scenes are framed by the GM.  The individual players announce how their character would like to approach the problem.  Whether they decide to be talky, sneaky, fighty, flighty, sexy, etc., the GM decides what stats and skills apply. Then he tells the players what the consequences of their actions will be as well as any opportunities that will arise from them. The players roll their dice pool, collecting “raises” (sets of dice that add up to 10) and choose how to spend their raises in regards to completing their goal, overcoming consequences, taking advantage of opportunities, helping out their fellow heroes, etc.  They can also choose to simply fail.

I love this mechanic!

Sometimes the hero gets captured, drops the McGuffin, or slips over the edge.  This game rewards that decision to heighten the tension with something called Hero Points.  Hero Points can be spent later to accomplish truly awesome things when they most matter. (Just like the movies! Huh…imagine that.)

The heroes don’t have “hit points”, they take wounds as a result of bad rolls or choices they made while spending their raises. These wounds are tracked by a portion of the character sheet ominously called “the death spiral.” This is a spiral of circles and stars that get colored in as heroes get injured.  Every fifth wound taken by a hero is a “dramatic wound”. Wounds themselves are no big deal but dramatic wounds serve to heighten the tension of the scene.  And once again, the further down the death spiral the hero falls, the more awesome stuff he can do…

Just like…well, you get it.

The game handles conflict resolution in social situations, action scenes, and large scale battles in pretty much the same manner, what changes is the time that elapses in game and the scale of the conflict.  This, as well, is beautifully executed as it breeds familiarity with the system allowing it to take a back seat to the story sooner regardless of what size or type of pickle the heroes have found themselves in.  Also, because of both the intuitive nature of the system and the speed with which the players and GM achieve familiarity with it, most conflicts are resolved very quickly regardless of size.  There are so many more subtleties to this system that I can’t touch on them all here without just rewriting the rules for you.

As a special note, the naval rules in this game are some of the best that I’ve ever seen.  They come complete with descriptions of the types of ships available, as well as list of the positions and personnel needed to man them. As with a lot of naval legends and lore, ships in this game are characters unto themselves. In this chapter you’ll find superstitions, adventure seeds designed for the advancement of ships, and even rules for bringing them back from the dead.  I’m understating this on purpose.  The naval rules alone are worth the price of the book.

I want to steal them…

…incorporate them into every game I play…

…lie to my players and tell them that they’re mine…

…be revered as the greatest GM of all time…

*rubbing hands together “MUHAHAHAHA!”

Character Creation - 

The character creation process is, for lack of a better word, deep.  In a lot of RPGs you create a framework of a character and hang personality on it like a mannequin.  In 7th Sea Second Edition, this process is front loaded so that when you sit down at the table for your first session you have a fully realized hero complete with an identity, a personality, an outlook, a past, and their own story to tell.  The character creation process begins with a concept and then you are asked to consider 20 questions about your hero.  Most, but not all of these will be answered from your hero’s perspective.

Rest assured this isn’t a hippy-dippy-story-sticky type of game, however.  There are more than 20 pages with lists of traits, backgrounds, advantages, skills, and other things to keep the min-maxers and number jugglers in your group happy.  This doesn’t even count the sorcery section of the book which we’ll get to shortly.

I suggest having a character creation session with your group.  Watching all of the heroes take shape together will both help you as the GM become familiar with the character concepts and you’ll see that the players begin feeding off of the creative energy in the room.

Magic - 

Magic in this game is as varied as the cultures of Theah. Meaning that there is no specific system that governs the use of all magics.

It’s more of a sorcery flavor selection, like a fountain at a large gas station that dispenses magic instead of soda.

Each of the cultures has their own brand of the supernatural and they are all represented very well in the book, beautifully capturing the essence of their superstitions and mysticism.  The chapter on sorcery is worth reading just for the flavor and immersive way that it’s presented.

The GM - 

A lot of the work for a campaign is, like character creation, front loaded because as the GM is building the framework of the story that will be told by the group he must also consider the stories of the individual characters in the group.  At first glance, this game looks like it brings back the “Workhorse GM” concept of running a game but, trust me you get very adept very quickly at leading players through the story once you actually begin playing.  Improvisational GMing is definitely possible with 7th Sea 2nd Edition but that’s no excuse for poor preparation.  The last chapter in the book is extremely informative for both new GMs and those that are just new to the game.  Even old guys like me will probably learn a thing or two.

Read it.

Price Point - $24.99 (PDF) – $59.99 (Hardcover)

For this price, you get the entire game.  No other books are needed to play.  Considering the quality of the book, art, and mechanics, this is a fine price.

Versatility - 

Tabletop RPG experiences are as varied as conversations among friends.  Because of this, the game itself must be versatile in order to stand up to years of playing.  The framework has to be flexible in order to tell a myriad of stories.  While I haven’t had it for years, you can tell when a game is a one trick pony and this one is not.  As well as the swashbuckling stories that were the inspiration for the game, John Wick and company have put together a beautiful toolbox with which to tell tales of dark fantasy, political intrigue, or “lone wolf’ stories ranging from grim-dark street level campaigns to high profile kingdom-shakers.

The choice is yours, it will not disappoint.

Rating - 10 out of 10

I rarely hand out a 10 in regards to an RPG.  My reasoning for this is that any given session of a tabletop RPG exists in a vacuum and the experience is subject to the moods and whims of those around the table. This can make it very difficult to give a game a fair shake upon reviewing if somebody in your game group had a rough day at work.  The way I rate an RPG is by assessing how well it does the job that it sets out to do.

This one performs beautifully.

If you want to tell stories like “The Three Musketeers”, “The Man in the Iron Mask”, “The Mask of Zorro”, “Robin Hood”, etc., this is the game you want.

Final Thoughts - 

 By changing the way that wealth and equipment work to a more abstract system, as well as lossening some of the restrictions on skills and such, the second edition of 7th Sea does trim out some of the bulk of the original edition, this is sure to ruffle some feathers.  That said, I beleive that it was done in good spirit with the motivation being to streamline scene setting and resolution with a focus on getting the players into the action.

To me, this game is a truly romantic exploration of the of swashbuckling genre through the lens of a contemporary tabletop role playing game.

But then again, this is just my humble opinion.

-Dan Whorl

(CarpeGM.net Game Reviews)


 

Full Disclosure - 

A review copy of 7th Sea Second Edition was given to me by the game developer for an honest review of their product.  No money or further compensation changed hands or has been promised for a good review.  They earned it!

Feb 032017
 

Puppetland RPG

Topic -    In one of my favorite interviews ever, I had the pleasure of sitting down with someone who changed the way I looked at story structure, character developement, and gaming as a whole.

John Scott Tynes wrote Puppetland more than 20 years ago, making him a pioneer in the “storytelling” game world.

The concept was a twisted mixture of the familiar and the macabre, where the innocence of childhood sensabilities rides the center line, crashing headlong into visceral and existential horror.

There is a new, (beautiful!) edition of Puppetland available now.  John tells us the story of how it came to be.

In one golden hour, you and your friends tell a story that may very well stick with you forever, for better or worse…

…at the very least, you’ll never look at puppets the same.

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

John’s website - http://www.JohnTynes.com

Purchase the Puppetland RPG -

On Amazon

On Indie Press Revolution

ArcDream Publishing - http://arcdream.com/home/

The New Delta Green RPG –  http://www.delta-green.com/

The new Unknown Armies 3rd Edition RPG - http://www.atlas-games.com/unknownarmies/

RPPR Actual Play podcast- http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradio.com/

Holospark, the video game start-up where John works - http://www.holospark.net/

The Impossible Travel Agency (John’s first virtual-reality project with Holospark) - http://impossibletravelagency.com/

The original version of Puppetland - http://johntynes.com/revland2000/rl_puppetland.html

The (very “drippy”) cover art from the 1999 release from Hogshead Publishing:

Puppetland

 

John Supported:

The Siblings Trouble storytelling card game - http://www.pencilfirstgames.com/the-siblings-trouble/

Just for fun, here is the Santa Claus, Punch,and Judy video that I was talking about on the show:

 

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Sep 302016
 

Escape Room - The Game

Topic -    Live from GenCon 2016!  I was invited to a special, after-hours edition  of the live action escape room the Spin Master Games had erected to support the release of their new game, “Escape Room – The Game”.  While I was there, I snagged a few minutes of audio with game designer, Brady Lang about the new venture.

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

GenCon 2016 

 Spinmaster.com

Escape Room – The Game

Where to buy -

On Amazon

At Target.com

At Toys-R-Us.com

At Walmart.com

 

 

 

 

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Sep 282016
 

GenCon 2016 Game review – Ice Cool

IceCool

At a glance –

School is almost out in Antarctica but a few of the penguins are too hungry to wait!  They skip out on class and, racing through the hallways, make their way to the cafeteria to grab an afternoon snack.  Will they make it before being caught by the dreaded hall monitor?  Welcome to “Ice Cool”.

“Ice Cool” is a surprisingly fun and innovative “flicking” game for 2-4 players published by Brain Games.  The gameplay is fast and intuitive.  Although it’s geared to younger players, I’ve played the game with several different age groups, including a mixed session, and the result is always the same, LOTS OF FUN!

8fbe28_b86fe61c8ebf4bd28d0871faa4ef4a3d

The Object -

 The players choose a color and collect the corresponding penguin and ID card.  One of the players is chosen to be the Hall Monitor (called the Catcher). The other players (called Runners) take turns flicking their penguins, trying to get them through the doorways that have their fish clipped to the top.  If they make it through, they collect their fish and score a fish card.  On their next turn, they begin making their way toward their next fish.

The Catcher has a different goal.  He or she is trying to collect the IDs of the Runners by flicking their penguin so that it touches the penguins of the Runners, thus, collecting their ID cards.  A round ends when either, one of the Runners collects all of their fish, or the Catcher has all of the IDs.  There are as many rounds as there are players so that everyone gets a turn to be the Catcher.  Also, there is a bit of a “rubber band” mechanic built in.  You look at the ‘fish cards” as you collect them.  If, at any point in the game you have collected two cards that only have a “1” on them, you can “ice skate”.  You turn over your two “1” cards and get to take an extra turn.  After all of the rounds have been completed, the players total up the numbers on their “fish cards” and the highest total wins.

The Board – pic3188780_md

The board for this game is a VERY innovative design called “Box in a Box”.  Inside the box are 5 smaller boxes with holes in the sides and art depicting the different rooms of the school.  These all clip together with the holes matching up to create the doorways and a kind of obstacle course for the players to navigate by flicking their penguins from room to room, collecting fish and (hopefully) avoiding the Hall Monitor.  The art on the board/boxes themselves is a convincing depiction of what a penguin school would look like, complete with overhead views of desks, chairs, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, all of which are complete with nice little touches like posters, drinking fountains, and basketball rims.  (Even though I’m sure that penguins are terrible at basketball)


8fbe28_407f327266a44ba2a39921d72625f763

 

What’s in the Box? -

(4) Plastic penguins;

(5) Cardboard boxes – rooms;

(16) Wooden fish tokens (12 fish in 4 player colors and 4 fish in white color);

(45) Fish cards (each showing 1, 2 or 3 victory points);

(4) Color reminder cards;

(4) Penguin ID cards;

(1) Rules booklet

Several re-sealable bags for component storage

Components –

The components for this game are quite nice. The cards are of good quality, and the “fish” are solid wood and seem to be very durable.  The real features of this game are, as described above, the board itself, and the adorable little penguins.  The penguins are rounded at the bottom, and weighted so that they can’t lie on their side.

For those of you who know what they are, think Weebles.

il_fullxfull-260793308

When flicked, they flop and flounder, spin and turn, but what they don’t do, is lay still.  With a little practice, you can begin to steer them around corners, make them jump over walls and, if you’re really good, you may even be able to get them to travel in a straight line!

Check out the “Ice Cool” promo video on YouTube to see an AMAZING shot near the end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhzIZUQvLng

If you’d like to listen to our interview with the man who, both, made that trick shot, and helped design this game, it can be found here:

 http://carpegm.net/interviews-ep-17-ice-cool/ ‎

Learning Curve –

This is an easy one to grasp for kids and adults alike.  If you’ve ever flicked things on a table you already have the basics down.  Spend a few minutes reading the rules and a couple of minutes setting up the board and you’re ready to go. There is a bit of a learning curve as you figure out how to make those pesky penguins do what you want, but not so much as to make the concept unattainable.  In any case, in a game like this failure can be just as entertaining as success!

pic3188778_md

 

Packaging –

As I said before, I’m absolutely enamored with this box.  Not only does it hold all of the smaller boxes, but, because there is no insert for the smaller pieces, the designers included small, re-sealable bags for storing the other components.  This allows “Ice Cool” to pass the “shake test” with flying colors.  Store it however you’d like!

Rules –

The rules document for this game is clear and concise, has little comic-style penguins all over it making it fun for kids to read, and even covers some of the unpredictable things that can happen when you get a few people around a table flicking plastic things through cardboard things.

Play time – 30 minutes

 

The “Sweet Spot” –

The game is rated for 2-4 players.  The sweet spot for this game, in my opinion, is 4 players.  The more pieces that you have flying around the board, the better!

Replay Value –

Due to the shape of its components and the nature of dexterity games in general, the replay value of this game is quite high.

Price Point - $39.99

 

Notes - 

Even though most of the components are cast or printed in bold primary colors, color blindness may be a concern.  That said, because of the gameplay and the mechanics involved, this could be overcome with just a little assistance by other players. The cards are easily read, but the penguins and wooden fish are all the same, only differing in color.  However, adding multiple casts to a game is extremely expensive, sometimes adding tens of thousands of dollars to a game’s initial bottom line.  This would have probably priced it out of its market and, all things considered, is probably not necessary for our chromodysoptic friends to enjoy it.

Rating –  9 out of 10

 

Final Thoughts -

Even though “Ice Cool” is targeted toward younger players, I think gamers of all ages will have a lot of fun with it.  I’ve seen older gamers pull the chairs away from the table so that they can line up their perfect shot as if they’re playing a tiny game of billiards, while a game with younger players looks and sounds exactly like what you may think;

 Raucous excitement sometimes mixed with the spell cast by a basketball circling the hoop in an Antarctic gymnasium.

I highly recommend this one, particularly if you have children.  However, I think this game would be a welcome addition to any collection, whether it’s found in a kid’s closet or the college campus.

In a word, “Ice Cool” is white-hot!

But then again, this is just my humble opinion.

 -Dan Whorl

(CarpeGM.net Game Reviews)

 

 

A review copy of Ice Cool was given to me at GenCon 2016 by the game designer.  No money or further compensation changed hands or has been promised for a good review.  They earned it!

 

Sep 212016
 

IceCool

Topic -    Live from GenCon 2016!  I was able to spend a few minutes talking with Egils Grasmanis From Brain Games about their new, super fun dexterity games “Ice Cool”  We talk a little about the design process and how the idea for one of the most popular casual games of the year came to be.

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

GenCon 2016 

 Brain Games.com

 Ice Cool

 

For our full review of the game, go to

 http://carpegm.net/game-review-ice-cool/ ‎

Egils Supported:

Mikkel Bertelsen’s game “Klask

Check out the Ice Cool promo video!

 

 

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Sep 102016
 

GenCon 2016 Game review – Mr. Game!

logo-mr-game_large

At a glance –

Part board game, part social experiment, all chaos…

Mr. Game! challenges nearly every convention of the classic roll and move board game.  This modern spin on retro style gaming has become a family favorite for game night at my house. It checks boxes that I didn’t know existed and jumps through hoops that I had no idea I was holding…Refreshing!

The object is simple.  Everyone starts on one space and races to land on the “goal” space to win.  That’s pretty conventional stuff, right?  Wrong.   Mr. Game! creates an atmosphere where even the concept of “what is a space?” can be challenged.  The road to victory is complicated by an ever-changing board, as well as an array of cards with different types of wacky functions, a goal that just won’t sit still, and of course, Mr. Game!.

Mr game board

The board – 

The board is a pretty straight forward design with the numbers 1-4 in the four corners and some wandering paths of spaces in between.  You start on “1” at the beginning of the game and you’re trying to land on “4”. This is subject to change.

The cards –

There are 3 types of cards in the game, “Actions”, “Badges”, and “Powerups”.

display-action-goalswitchdisplay-action-singularitydisplay-action-banish

Actions” are the most common cards in the deck and are played immediately when drawn.  The effects of these cards vary wildly including (but not limited to) moving other people’s pawns, adding or moving spaces on the board, changing the goal, etc.

display-badge-mrwhistledisplay-badge-mrcaffeine

 

Badges” are cards that are kept secretly in your hand to be played at just the right moment. Some of the effects may be similar to “Action” cards but the ability to weaponize them makes them valuable.  The results of a well-timed “Badge” can range from devastating to hilarious…

…or both…

…or neither…

…or…

Never mind. Moving on.

display-powerup-jetpackdisplay-powerup-sleightofhanddisplay-powerup-ballandchain

A “Powerup” is a card that is played immediately when drawn and changes the way your pawn behaves, giving you some sort of ability or taking one away.  For better or worse, you’re stuck with these until someone takes them or you roll doubles.

There are also four blank cards found in the deck that prompt you to use your imagination…or not.  It’s up to you.

Spaces –

Given the ubiquity and familiarity of spaces in tabletop games, I hadn’t really considered the idea of describing them until I got to this point in the review.  On one hand, because of the nature of this game, they need to be discussed.  But on the other hand, it feels a little like describing to someone how it feels to blink.

download

 The spaces on the board, at a glance, are rudimentary.  You have normal spaces that prompt no action. As mentioned before, there are four spaces in the corners of the board that are numbered 1-4 and serve as the “goal” spaces.  There are spaces marked with an exclamation point that prompt the player to draw a card.  There are also spaces found sporadically about the board that prompt you to “roll again”.   If that’s not enough, all of these spaces can be different colors depending on where they are found on the board.  The colors of the spaces have no bearing on their function when playing with the rules as written.  That said, the colors, location, and even the null area between spaces can (and probably will) routinely come into play because of this game’s chaotic nature.

Tiles –

Tiles are essentially spaces that can be added or moved on the board once prompted by a card, changing the effect of a space or adding a new one altogether!  There are several types of tiles.  Nearly all of the spaces described above can be found in the stack of tiles, as well as webs in which your pawn can get “stuck”, portals that allow you to quickly traverse the board, and null spaces to cut off possible avenues for your opponents.

Mr. Game! – 

Last but certainly not least, there’s Mr. Game!.  Before you begin playing, you decide who will act as Mr. Game!.  While all players are expected to interpret the rules, this player will have the final word on any decisions to be made concerning them.

From this mechanic, chaos is born.

While the other players are constantly trying to take advantage of any given situation that may get them closer to winning, they invariably will be challenging the very conventions of a roll and move game.  This, coupled with a purposefully minimalistic set of written rules, creates an environment where house rules are necessary.  This is where Mr. Game! comes in.  During play, Mr. Game! will have to make any number of probably ridiculous and unforeseen rules decisions.  As these situations are arbitrated, they become rules for the remainder of the game.  Keep in mind that whoever is playing as Mr. Game is also playing the game with everyone else and, as such, must uphold and is subject to his or her own rulings throughout the game.

What’s in the box? – 

( 1 ) Game BoardMr game board

( 1 ) How To Play Booklet

( 1 ) Alternate Game Types Booklet

( 104 ) Cards

( 18 ) Tiles

( 8 ) Player Pieces

( 8 ) Player Cards

( 2 ) Four Sided Dice

( 2 ) Goal Markers

( 4 ) Blank Cards

Components –

The components of the game are all of very good quality and have weathered several plays with little to no wear and tear.

Learning Curve –

If you read every word of the rules pamphlet it’ll take you about 10 minutes to learn to play. The set-up is minimal and the core mechanics of the game are extremely intuitive.

Packaging –

The storage space in the box holds all of the components well and passes the “shake test” with minimal movement.

Rules –

Ordinarily, a rules document that leaves so many unanswered questions would receive bad marks in this category. However, this one, because of the nature of the game, is perfect.

Play time –

The play time varies from game to game.  Most of them last 20 to 60 minutes with 4-6 players,

The “Sweet Spot” –

Rated for 2 – 8 players, the more the merrier! We’ve played with as many as 7 players with no negative experience regarding gameplay.  That said, after having experienced the game several times with varying group sizes, I’m going to put the sweet spot somewhere between 4 – 6 players.

Replay ability –

Having many variants and additional rules included in the “Alternate Gametypes” book that comes with the game, several more variants published at http://whoismrgame.com/your-house-rules/, along with the fact that you can play a completely different game just by changing the people playing or who presides as Mr. Game!, the replay ability of this one is off the charts!

Price – $35

You can purchase your copy here.

Final Thoughts –

The charm of Mr. Game! is rooted in the unpredictability that spawns from just playing the game. This provides the players with an experience that is unique not only to their gaming group, but to the individual session, which prompts the telling of stories and anecdotes about those sessions.  This is a trait usually found in meatier board games and tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons rather than a simple roll and move game.  But then again…

Just a simple roll and move board game, Mr. Game! is not…

I believe that Mr. Game! is, in and of itself, an experience.

Rating – 10 out of 10

But then again, this is just my humble opinion.

-Dan Whorl

Check out our interview with the creator of Mr. Game!, Frank DiCola, here.

A review copy of Mr. Game! was given to me at GenCon 2016 by the game designer.  No money or further compensation changed hands or has been promised for a good review.  They earned it!

 

Sep 102016
 

Topic -  I was finally able to sit down with Frank DiCola, the creator of Mr. Game!, one of my favorite family games EVER! In this episode, we discuss Mr. Game!, the nature of its design, and some house rules.  Frank also gives a little insight into Kickstarter and we discuss some of the hurdles of being an independent game designer.  

Enjoy the show!

 

Media - 

GenCon 2016 

whoismrgame.com
Mr. Game! (@whoismrgame) | Twitter
Mr. Game | Facebook
Frank DiCola (@Yoshgunn) | Twitter
drinkinggamezone.com/drinking-games/mr-game
Tabletop Simulator on Steam
Buy Mr. Game!

For our full review of the game, go to

http://carpegm.net/game-review-mr-game/

Frank Supported:
Aether Game Cafe

 

 

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Aug 152016
 

GenCon2016-small

Indianapolis – The numbers are in…

Yet another record shredding year for GenCon 2016!

The “Best Four Days in Gaming” in the past few years. This year’s show featured more than 500 exhibitors, along with continued growth of turnstile attendance with more than 201,000 attendees, a sold out pre-show Trade Day program with more than 550 attendees, over 16,500 ticketed events, and more than $35,000 raised via on-site programming for their official charity partner:

The Pour House

The convention this year also just seemed to feel better.  There was a palpable excitement in the air that I didn’t even notice was missing from the past couple of years until I arrived. It was positively electric. Perhaps this was due to a few changes that the owners and organizers made in the hopes of enhancing the experience for the attendees.  Namely, the expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium and the conference spacing found therein, as well as, among other things, a rerouting of the Annual Cosplay Parade, and a new pricing structure allowing for better planning of events.  This added consideration created a much more inviting and less cloistered feel to the entire show.  Unique attendance was nearly the same as last year.  While that may not be another record shattered, it did serve to create a very clear dichotomy of the convention with and without the added space and considerations.

The owners and staff of GenCon were not the only ones on top of their game.  The vendors, exhibitors, and contributors hit it out of the park as well.  The convention is always a hotbed of gaming and geek pop culture with many events and releases that can only be found during the best four days in gaming.

Along with a few of the show’s staples like True Dungeon (a live action dungeon crawl), the charity auction, a very nice costume contest, 24 hour gaming, and countless other reasons people come out to Indy in the middle of summer every year, there were some new goings on that caught my attention.  There was not one, but two, live action escape rooms.  One of which was right in the dealer hall!

(Interviews with representatives of both, Think Fun and Spin Master Games, as well as reviews of their room escape board games are forthcoming)

IceCool

Also to be found in the dealer hall, was the white-hot, penguin flicking, dexterity game, Ice Cool by Brain Games, as well as  the potato-weighing mayhem of UK game designers, Big Potato Games debuting their library of games in the USA.

bigpotatologo

(Interviews with both companies and reviews of their respective games, are also forthcoming)

In addition to games, some attendees may have wandered into the exhibitor section of the hall where you could find scores of authors, craftsmen, and art like the critters created by Creature Curator, Brian Colin.

Brian Colin

These are his aptly named Pocket Monsters!!

 

By all accounts, GenCon 2016 was a complete success. The convention will be returning to Indianapolis August 17-20, 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the show.  This is sure to be a fantastic spectacle. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

As the title states, this is just an overview of this year’s show.  Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be seeing loads of GenCon content here including several interviews with some very innovative game designers, and LOTS of reviews of new titles and GenCon exclusives.  We’ll also be posting audio from some of the panels that we attended given by some very important individuals in the gaming community as well as written articles about some of the highlights of the show and our Convention Tradition where we scour the con for something old, something new, something redone, and something cool.

Lastly, The CarpeGM Gamecast will soon have a new show on the feed…

With a trial by fire, no safety net, live with random strangers, we’ve recorded the first episodes of a little show that we’re calling Geek 16.

 

Cheers!

-Dan

 

GenCon2016-logo big

-About Gen Con

 

Gen Con, LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction and adventure game convention in North America. Gen Con, The Best Four Days in Gaming!™. Acquired in 2002 by former CEO and founder of Wizards of the Coast, Peter Adkison, the company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Gen Con 2016 was sponsored by Mayfair Games, Paizo, Inc., and Rio Grande Games.

Feb 232016
 

With the growing popularity of RPG’s utilizing a virtual table top, This is BIG news!  I received this press release yesterday and pass it on to you now…

For additional information, contact Jenny Bendel.
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SYRINSCAPE AND D20PRO ANNOUNCE NEW INTEGRATION FOR PLAYING ROLEPLAYING GAMES FASTER, BIGGER, AND ANYWHERE,NOW WITH SOUND

Award-Winning Syrinscape Sound App Now Compatible with D20PRO Virtual Tabletop

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (February 22, 2016) – Syrinscape, creator of the award-winning apps that put the power of custom, movie-like sound effects, soundscapes, music, and audio solutions at the fingertips of the gamer, and D20PRO, the Virtual Tabletop that takes roleplaying games from around the table to gamers around the world, are thrilled to announce today the two products are now compatible, creating a dynamic gaming experience for roleplaying gamers everywhere.*

D20PRO comes with the complete rules set for OGL 3.54E and thePathfinder Roleplaying Game systems. However, the powerful tools ofD20PRO work for any game system that utilizes maps, combat on or off a grid, and even games that rely on “theater of the mind.”

“Syrinscape has been one of our most requested integrations, and we are so pleased to make that a reality,” says Tobias Drewry, CEO of Mesa Mundi. “Now game masters running a campaign with D20PRO can easily incorporate Syrinscape’s incredible library of music and sound effects to set the perfect mood for their games.”

With this integration, D20PRO Game Masters will be able to control Syrinscape remotely on the systems of their players. Game Masters will be able to embed objects within D20PRO that can be used to ‘click’ buttons inside Syrinscape, without needing to bring Syrinscape into focus, or having to navigate through any of its menus.

“Now every spell, every location, and every hideous monster roar is right at the finger tips of D20PRO Game Masters,” says Syrinscape creator Benjamin Loomes. “And yes… most importantly, that includes the Wilhelm Scream!”.

D20PRO has created real-time video with an introduction demo on how to incorporate Syrinscape into D20PRO games, using Syrinscape in 3rd-party mode, how to add sound triggers inside D20PRO, and how to configure virtual audio settings.

D20PRO Virtual Tabletop is available to try free with a 30-day Trial License to build campaigns, adventures, and encounters in no time. To start a free 30-day trial, visit, www.d20pro.com/getd20pro/.

The award-winning Syrinscape apps bring fantastic, realistic sound to tabletop gaming. Each is available to try for free, can be completely unlocked for free for 30 days at Syrinscape.com/freetrial, and includes 2 free SoundSets to keep after the trial. To download the free Board Game Player, Sci-Fi Player, or Syrinscape Fantasy Player, visit Syrinscape.com.

*At this time, Syrinscape integration is Windows only, with Mac OS and Linux integration coming soon.

About D20PRO
D20PRO is a Virtual Tabletop (VTT) that takes roleplaying games from around the table to gamers around the world. Experience all the elements of roleplaying while optimizing your play with the powerful D20PRO rules engine–speed up combat, roll a natural 20 on integrated dice, explore vast maps, and bring character sheets to life. No matter what kind of game you’re running,D20PRO is the VTT desktop solution your gaming group needs. Campaign with players throughout the world, and you’ll never miss game night again. Run smooth, accurate combat with D20PRO’s suite of built-in tools ensuring that every bonus, feat, and twist of the rules is accounted for. D20PRO ©2016 Mesa Mundi, Inc. (www.mesamundi.com)

About Syrinscape
Using a powerful audio engine and complex algorithms to produce ever-changing soundscapes and rich encounter-specific music, Syrinscape conjures every aural landscape imaginable, from ethereal forests and stony shorelines, to dank, vermin-filled dungeons, to the spooky depths of the underdark. Designed by accomplished composer and tabletop gamer Benjamin Loomes, along with the developers at the Interaction Consortium, Syrinscape builds on more than 8 years of prototyping and community feedback. Syrinscape is based in Australia. Syrinscape is available for a wide range of devices, including PC, Mac, Android Tablets and phone, iPhones and iPads, and the players can be downloaded via syrinscape for free.

* * *
Feb 172016
 

Our good friend Chris Birch is at it again. This time he’s bringing the big guns…a Conan RPG!

You’ll want to get in on this as I’m sure that it’s going to be HUGE!

Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of  Kickstarter has LAUNCHED!!!
 
 
We are almost HALFWAY through the first goal and counting!
We have one of the biggest line ups of major artists ever for a roleplaying game. Each book is a beautiful high quality hard cover book featuring a major commissioned cover art by one of the legendary names we have assembled along with truly authentic and evocative content by industry veterans and newcomers. Please check it out!
…all under the watchful eye of world-renowned Conan experts and scholars including  Jeffrey ShanksPatrice Louinet and Mark Finn, working together to bring you the most authentic Conan roleplaying experience yet, focusing exclusively on Robert E. Howard’s original stories.
Thanks so much for your support and patient as we prepared this incredible project!
 
Chris, Modiphius
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