I’m on the road to GenCon! So I’m writing this ahead of time, and I’m excited to be getting there. So disclaimer like before, I don’t know anything that Fantasy Flight might be talking about on their In Flight report. But what are the expansions…
Month: July 2019
A new 10 Minute Marvel (#10MinMarvel) that for your listening pleasure. It’s available on both Google Play Music and Apple Podcast. I take a break from talking about the MCU Movies in chronological order, because there’s a lot to talk about with Phase 4.
Last week I did my top ten demos that I’m curious about at GenCon, so now with GenCon officially two days away (though, there are some things Wednesday), let’s talk about games for sale that I’m interested to check out. Keep in mind, this is prior to the Fantasy Flight In-Flight report, where they might announce something I’m interested in for demo or for sale.
Ten – Skull Tales: Full Sail! – A pirate themed game is interesting to me, as I’m on the lookout for a good one, aka not Seafall. This one seems to have a lot going on with it, and the semi-cooperative nature is definitely interesting to me. I want to see how they implement it before I make much judgement on it. The minis look cool, and the style of the game seems interesting to me. But I don’t know much about the game, so I want to give it a good look.
Nine – Cloudspire – A big game from Chip Theory Games. This one I think I’m more interested to see than buy, but a cooperative exploration game with a modular board, that seems pretty cool. And the aesthetic with castles floating on rocks in the sky is very interesting. Their other games, Too Many Bones being the biggest, looks interesting, though not quite my style, and I’m curious to see how this one works compared to that.
Eight – Anomaly – A horror based board game, this one takes one versus all as some players take on the rolls of kids who are left to deal with this anomaly. There’s hidden movement as well, not just for the anomaly, but for the players as well, which I think adds an interesting twist into it. I always enjoy this type of game, one versus all, and the theme reminds me a bit of Not Alone, where you have astronauts on a crashed spaceship trying to avoid a monster and the planet killing them.
Seven – Slide Quest – Slide Quest looks like a fun and silly game where it’s like a marble puzzle, where you control which sides are higher and lower to get a knight to his goals and to deal with bad guys, but the twist is that it can be played with four players. In this game you can have one person controlling each lever that lowers or raises a side. This one I want to check it out, because it seems like it could be a silly game to play with smaller groups at a board game night, but I want to see it first, because it could be frustrating to some.
Six – The Grimm Masquerade – I found out about this one when they played it on the Dice Tower. The Grim Masquerade seems like an interesting social deduction game where you are playing as various Grimm Fairy Tale characters who are trying to collect three of the item that they need. But the other players are trying to figure out who you are under the mask, and can knock you out of the round by figuring out who you are or by giving you the item that you don’t want. It’s a social deduction game that has more to it, which is interesting to me.
Five – Arkham Noir Case #1 – This one is an odd one on the list, and while I’m not sure it’s an immediate purchase for me, it’s a game that has a player count of 1 to 1. So it’s a purely solo game, and it’s a game where you are trying to solve a mystery. I’m curious to see how this deck of cards is going to work, but the theme and aesthetic, which is very 1920’s noir, are interesting to me.
Four – Walking in Burano – You’re building up the beautiful Burano neighborhood of Venice. When you are building these houses though, you need to match colors and get various scoring cards to create the best looking and most popular neighborhood. Walking in Burano isn’t a big game, but it looks like a relaxing game to play.
Three – Choose Your Own Adventure: War with the Evil Power Master – The name is absurd (and absurdly long, hence forth known as Power Master), but that’s what I want in a CYOA game. And this game appears to have a bit more game to it than the CYOA: House of Danger did. It’s a fun group game where you aren’t doing the same boring party tropes, so I’m excited to get the next one.
Two – Detective: City of Angels – This game is a big detective game, something that we’re seeing more of with Chronicles of Crime and Detective: A Modern Crime Story. But in Detective: City of Angels it’s competitive as players are leaning on possibly witnesses to see if the person running the game has lied to them, and other players can send in a snitch to spy on the conversation to help out with their investigation. Will you be able to solve the case faster than your the other detectives?
One – Hats – This is actually a small game to start, but I like the simplicity of the game along with the game scoring. In this game you’re at the tea party with the Mad Hatter and you’re trying to have to the best scoring collection of hats. You do that by swapping out hats from the scoring track with one from your hand. So, while the game is simple, there seems to be a good amount of strategy to it, it reminds me some of Hanimkoji and Parade in that way.
What games are you looking forward to at GenCon?
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Here’s a hot take, I don’t like Chaotic Neutral, and I don’t think most people who play a Chaotic Neutral actually play a chaotic neutral character.
Now, time to explain myself, and explain how you can play it better.
My issue with Chaotic Neutral is that most people who play it really want to be a murder hobo and not get into any trouble for it. So if they say they aren’t evil, that means that people are going to be nicer to them when they do Chaotic Evil things. It also means that the Paladin is less likely to smite them or pay as much attention to them doing bad things, because they are neutral technically.
So, really, most people who play chaotic neutral are actually playing chaotic evil, they just don’t want to be an evil character. Now, that being said, it also happens on the flip side as well. I would say that rogues or warlocks most commonly do it the other way. A rogue might be a thief, but everything that they do is good, but because they had a criminal background, they think they need to be Chaotic Neutral, and a similar thing with warlock. But really they are playing a Chaotic Good character. But it is much more playing Chaotic Evil, but pretending that you are Neutral instead of evil that causes issues in a game.
How do you play Chaotic Neutral?
This is where it gets tricky, as I feel like with chaotic, having either good or evil is very defining ,and chaotic neutral can just be chaos for chaos sake, but often times that leans into chaotic evil. I’m trying to come up with a good example of a chaotic neutral character, I would say that Loki, at his best, when he’s not trying to kill Thor, is probably Chaotic Neutral. But he walks that line of being Evil at times as well. Though, I’d argue when he is Evil he’s either Neutral Evil or Lawful Evil, not Chaotic Evil. After a quick google search, I came up with a couple more examples.
The first is Deadpool, which I think makes sense to me. He’s chaotic in that he’s fourth wall breaking, but also that his methods are extreme and sometimes random in dealing with the bad guys. He doesn’t have a plan, and he’s willing to terminate with extreme prejudice, versus bring anyone in, not because it’s letter of the law, but it’s because that’s what he does. When Venom is good, he does a similar thing. The other is Homer Simpson. Now, this is much more benign than Deadpool, but you never really know what Homer is going to do. He might do the right thing, he might do the wrong thing, but he’s never really trying to do the wrong thing, he just doesn’t think things through.
So, I think there’s a few things we can take away for playing all a Chaotic Neutral character from these character examples. First, these characters are not murder hobos. While Deadpool kills, he kills bad guys, and people that he knows are bad guys, not people he might just guess are bad guys. But even with bad guys, they don’t have to kill them, and they might not kill one of them for an odd reason. Thus, they also tend to be hard to predict. They would be a nightmare for a lawful evil villain or a lawful good paladin, because they can’t predict what they are going to do.
What classes then make a good chaotic neutral character. I have mentioned Warlock and Rogue, both of those make a lot of sense, and same with Sorcerer. But I think one that I haven’t mentioned yet is bard. Bards are entertainers based off of their class, and have a built in desire for being entertained, so while they don’t do the predictable thing, they do the thing that will entertain themselves and others the most. I think that Paladin and Cleric are going to be the hardest to go with in a Chaotic alignment, especially Paladin, but there are Chaotic deities out there that they can follow if you are using the D&D deities for Forgotten Realms.
A Chaotic Neutral character is also likely to be an adventurer because they are bored with what they’ve been doing. I actually like the Noble background for this reason. Tate was a Chaotic Neutral Noble Bard in the Dungeons and Flagons game, and it worked well, because he hadn’t received training to live in a hard world, he just had learned fluffier skills as a noble, so reading, song, etc. I think that a reformed Criminal would also make sense or a Charlatan. But as a player, you are going to have to find a reason that they would keep adventuring and not just bail when things get too hard or dangerous.
So, now I’ve given reasons how you can play it well. I still stand by what I’ve said, I do think that playing a Chaotic Neutral character is too often just a reason to play a Chaotic Evil character, but not have the Paladin smite you to death. There are ways that you can play it well though, so please, for the sake of your DM, try and lean into those aspects.
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After a week off, I was back at it with Pandemic Legacy Season 1. How did I fair this time as I tried to save the world from diseases and drink a beer? Spoiler, the beer was drank. Pandemic is a game where you are…
We’re onto the last column of alignments, and we’re looking at those chaotic characters. I think, and on the Total Party Thrill podcast they talk about this, chaotic good should be the default position for most adventurers.
When you think about it, most adventurers don’t have the law in mind when they are doing good, and they don’t do good because they are altruistic. They are going to do it for fame and glory and hopefully some money along the way. And, that is pretty chaotic. They are also going to sometimes do what they think is right, sometimes that the law or a deity says is right, but they are going to do the good thing, but it just might not be in the expected way.
This also makes it easier on the DM, because I know that I can throw out a plot hook where someone is clearly bad, but I don’t know what you are going to do. That’s going to make it more fun for me as I don’t know what is going to happen. That randomness might bug some DM’s, but as they DM more, it makes it easier as you go along. It also keeps it feeling fresh, because the players working in a somewhat random way means that I can’t fully plan for it, and I can’t fully predict what they are going to do.
And, again, I think that this idea of rewards and treasure, those are things that as the players we think about, but also, that then trickles into our characters as we divide loot and try and mechanically make our character as awesome as possible. Now, that might not seem like it’s good, but in your normal campaign, the bad guy is probably very bad, and the good guys are probably pretty good. The characters that we’re playing are those in the middle who are good, but aren’t just good for good sake and are willing to get their hands dirty taking down those who are bad.
As for what class works well, I think that the answer is any. Cleric and Paladin might lean more lawful, but there is no reason that they can’t be chaotic. The ones that jump out the most that do easily slide into this category are going to be your sorcerer, warlock, and rogue. All of them, seem to have class features that would make them more chaotic. But, like I said, this should be the default for adventurers in a good game, and you should explain your way off of it in your back story, if you want to be a different alignment. It is very similar for an evil game with the Lawful Evil alignment should be the default for an adventurer there.
I think that we all have a decent idea of what good is now, from the previous two articles, and the chaotic piece means that your motivations aren’t law or altruism. I don’t know that I have a ton more to say about this. So short article today.
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There was a lot of news in this weeks episode of 10 Minute Marvel (#10MinMarvel), as Marvel took Hall H by storm at Comic Con. So we do a quick rundown of what has happened for Phase 4. Then I talk about what I thought…