Tag: fantasy

Malts and Meeples: Tainted Grail Game 3 Playthrough Part 1

Malts and Meeples: Tainted Grail Game 3 Playthrough Part 1

It’s been a couple of weeks, but I’m back again with more Tainted Grail. Last time I had said that I was considering playing ahead to the point where I had lost last time, but I decided that I was going to take more time…

10 Minute Marvel Episode 33 – Who could be conquering Loki, plus a new Disney Plus Hero, who is she?

10 Minute Marvel Episode 33 – Who could be conquering Loki, plus a new Disney Plus Hero, who is she?

Who could be conquering Loki, plus a new Disney Plus Hero, who is she? Plus there’s more in the news, what do Tom  Holland and Chris Pratt want to do, and a villain returning? If you are enjoying the podcast, first thank you for listening.…

Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonlance

Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonlance

Back into Dungeons and Dragons settings with Dragonlance. This one is probably best known for the D&D books that came out around it, though it is one of the oldest settings for D&D. Dragonlance falls into that more classic fantasy flavor, which makes sense for something that has been around as long as it has.

In Dragonlance, you have a lot of stories and games that are going to be focused around the deities or dragons. Which is classic fantasy and classic Dungeons and Dragons. The deities are active in the world and are regularly fighting each other which of course is going to cause problems in the world that the adventurers are going to need to take care. The world where the characters join in is already going to be at the point where things have gone poorly and they are going to be fighting to bring things back to some level of good, or at least to keep the world from ending.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

Dragonlance, being that it’s an earlier world doesn’t have the fully fleshed out set of races. While you’re going to have your classic races, Elves, Dwarves, and Humans, some of the other ones such as gnomes, halflings, tieflings, etc. aren’t going to be in this world. Much of this comes, again, from the time when this was created. Those other races were added onto Dungeons and Dragons at a later time. However, with that, because it’s been around so long, there are some well known NPC’s that you can interact with in the world. Raistlin is probably the most well known. He’s an extremely powerful mage, probably the most powerful in the land, so while he’s dealing with the bigger things, it would make sense then for the players to deal with smaller things that aren’t worth Raistlin’s notice.

So why would you play in this world? It’s fairly generic, and you don’t have the options that would be there in The Forgotten Realms which is also generic. I think that the reason you’d play here is that it’s going to have that grittier feel. If you wanted to play in a more generic settings but one that is darker and grittier, The Forgotten Realms is about being heroic, and while Dragonlance can have that feeling as well, it’s not going to be handed to you as much. Your characters will have to fight their way for it keeping track of everything. Now, that isn’t going to be for a lot of people. I would say that this is for the people who care more for the simulation piece of Dungeons and Dragons and a little bit less about the role playing piece. Not to say that you couldn’t play that more heroic style of game in Dragonlance, but what can set it apart is going less that direction and delving more into the darker and grittier side of fantasy.

As for the sort of games, it’s going to be the big epics. Eventually, your characters will be up there fighting with Raistlin against some deity or taking care of some dragon that he doesn’t have time for. It’s a world that is on the swords edge of falling into just complete war and chaos, which is what one of the gods wants, and the players will need to fight back those forces. You can do more stories in the world as well, but with the history and lore that is in place, that’s going to be a common style of game, is keeping Dragonlance and the lands of Krynn from falling into chaos and destruction that they can’t come back from. Again, leaning towards more of that fight for survival in a world that’s falling apart versus a grand heroic adventure.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

So, would I play a game in Dragonlance? I’d play a game in any D&D setting, but I really don’t care to play in Dragonlance. Because it’s older, it would feel like an older setting with more constraints on what I can play and do. And this idea that it’s this darker and grittier world, just make something really bad happen in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron and you can gain that same survivalist feeling. So if I want this generic fantasy feel and to have that survival and darker setting, I can do that, I can even make it more unique in some other settings, so for me Dragonlance is a setting that’s had it’s moment and I really don’t care if I’d play in it.

Would you play or run a game in Dragonlance? Have you played a game in that setting before?

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Dungeons and Dragons: Ravenloft

Dungeons and Dragons: Ravenloft

While some of the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons are big and expansive, and Ravenloft can be, in fifth edition, you’ll find that Ravenloft is quite small. It’s also quite different as we’ve shifted away from something that’s heavy fantasy and into a world that…

TableTopTakes: Tainted Grail

TableTopTakes: Tainted Grail

Let me start out by saying that rarely do I back a Kickstarter on the first day, and I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I would with Tainted Grail. In the end, because of the feeling I got from the setting, this dark…

TableTopTakes: Dice Forge

TableTopTakes: Dice Forge

From the deepest depth of the earth, you can hear the clang of the hammers as the players in this game forge their own dice to get more energy and more points. Dice Forge is a pretty fast dice game where your dice change throughout the game, in something that I haven’t really seen before. Can you get the right cards and faces of the dice so that you will be able to score the most points?

Image Source: Board Game Geek

As I said, Dice Forge is a dice crafting game. At the start of the game each player has two dice with removable sides. The two dice are different, one with more of one crystal type and the other one with the other. And then a lot of gold. You use the crystals to buy cards that give you various actions that you can do or they give you points. The coins are used, and this is the most exciting part of the game, for buying sides of dice. The dice, you can pop a face off and put a new face on that gives you more money, points, or crystals. You play through a certain number of rounds and then the person with the most points from cards and scoring points during the game is the winner.

There most important thing to talk about is the dice. This seems like it could have been a gimmick that might not have worked that well, but it actually works really well. The dice are engineered extremely well, and you actually have to snap the face of the dice out and snap a new one in, and in several plays and plays of copies that have had more than a few plays, the dice are holding up well. Now, the tray for storing the dice sides that you’re going to put on, I think that it’s an interesting idea, but the sides are just sitting in there, and I don’t think that works as well that well, because a jostles can knock them loose, and moving the box can certainly mess that up even more. But the dice themselves are awesome, and making the best dice you possibly can is where the fun really comes in.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

One of the mechanical things that I really like about the game is that you aren’t just rolling the dice on your turn. You roll the dice every turn, however, you can only spend what you’ve collected on your turn. So you have tracks where you are keeping track of how much gold you have as well as the crystals and points. So when you roll, you’re tracking it there, this should help give players something to do when it isn’t your turn, and because you’re only getting a roll of the dice when it is your turn, you should be able to start planning some. Now, that changes with two players, but in a multiplayer game, when you’re rolling on the turn previous to yours, you should have a plan already somewhat in place.

Let’s talk a bit about the card piece. I think that the cards work fine in this game. They are mainly going to give you points or the ability to manipulate what you have. This game has a fantasy theme on it and it’s mainly on the cards. However, that theme doesn’t really come through. I like that there is a theme, because there really isn’t any reason to have one, other than to make the game more aesthetically pleasing. The cards, however, they feel lackluster compared to the dice and changing the dice face. They are basically just another way to spend resources. I wish that it was more about the interesting dice side changing part of the game, but I understand that it would cost a whole lot more to change the cards into something more or to make more faces to add to the dice or even more of the dice.

Now, I called this a fast game, and it is. It says 45 minutes, in a two player game, it should take less time than that, but I played a four player game, and it took longer. I know some of that was the players I was playing with as two of them can have some to all the analysis paralysis on their turns. But I do think that a teaching game with four people is going to take longer than the 45 minutes, even though the game isn’t that difficult. Dice Forge, I think, is a good length and a good way to introduce engine building and resource management to new gamers. The tactile nature of the dice faces is really nice in the game and it’s going to draw people in to want to check out the game. And then, they did a good job with a simple game that will work well for lots of levels of gamers.

Overall, I like Dice Forge. I think that it does something really new and unique. I think that the game has good turn decision making, it doesn’t have long term planning because you don’t know what resources you’ll roll, but that helps keep the game something that is easier to introduce new gamers to. Dice Forge isn’t on my shelf, but that’s because I know people who have it, otherwise it probably would be for the ease of play and dice forging which is just a lot of fun.

Overall Grade: B
Gamer Grade: B-
Casual Grade: A-

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Worlds According to D&D

Worlds According to D&D

I’ve written a lot in the past about homebrewing your own world, how you can create the world that you need for your D&D game. But that can be a lot of work, so Dungeons and Dragons has already gone ahead and created a bunch…

Behind The Box Cover – Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon

Behind The Box Cover – Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon

There are some of these larger campaign games, Sword & Sorcery, Gloomhaven, and Tainted Grail, that can be hard to get a review done quickly. That’s simply because you need to play several chapters or scenarios to really get an idea of the game. So…

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Christmas Ideas – The Grab Bag

Last list post, I considered doing a couple more for things like Sci-Fi and Anime, but there are so many specific things, like with Fantasy in both of those, that I thought, let’s wrap it up with a nerdy grab bag of ideas. This list is going to cover things from Sci-Fi to Anime, but also beyond that.

The Nerd Who Likes to Drink – Get them an engraved beer glass or whiskey tumbler. You can find all sorts of interesting ones out there, and they aren’t extremely expensive. They are also better options than a shot glass, because most people have too many shot glasses from college. I have two stein style beer mugs that Kristen and I got at ConVergence with Lord of the Rings theme on them. But you can find them on Etsy with almost anything on them. If you want the rebel symbol from Star Wars, or the Vulcan salute, you can get that. This falls into that category of things that are a bit more unique. Or unique booze, that always works too.

Image Credit: Davis Beer Week

Board Gamer Bling – Now, this is slightly different than the next one RPG’er Bling, but basically, help a person bling out their board games. There are a lot of games that use cardboard coins, help them start replacing that money by getting them some metal coins for the game. There are a ton of shops that make awesome coins. Or, maybe they play a resource management game where there are different types of resources, you can probably find little molded or 3D printed pieces to replace those. Little things like that can elevate a gaming experience. Or, maybe a game has meeples in it, you can get custom meeples of the various colors, so that the game has a little bit more of a fun factor to it.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

RPG’er Bling – If this was like board gamer bling, I’d just say look back at the RPG list. However, I am going to add in some apparel stuff this list or little fun things. You can get things like D20 (twenty sided dice) earrings that are different, and there is even one place where you can get some glow in the dark ones. There are also necklaces that have D20’s or various dice hanging from them that you could go with. And, tons of goofy RPG related t-shirts that you could consider as well. In the RPG listed, we did some table bling, this time, the suggestion is bling out the player or the DM.

Collector’s Sets – This is really for anything nerdy, and I talked about it in fantasy, while people might have a version of something that they like, they probably won’t, since they already own it, go with the nicer version. So you can do that for them. This can be for books or movies or whatever it might be. But a hard backed version of a book, or the cool collectors version of a movie that comes in a nicer case or with something extra, that is fun. For, for video games, you can sometimes get a larger release pack that comes in a cool case or comes with a figure. With a video game, I would try and get a game the person doesn’t have, as compared to books or movies which can replace the old version on the shelf. I’ve found that people tend to go back to video games as much or at least display them as much. Now, that might be who I hang out with, but that’s my recommendation.

Image Source: IMDb

Manga/Anime – This one is pretty simple, if they have the anime or love the anime, consider getting them the manga. If they love the manga, consider getting them the anime. You can also look at what anime or manga that they like and find things adjacent to that, but it can be tricky with some o books or shows, because they are pretty unique.

Experiences – There are plenty of experiences that you can give a person when it comes to nerdy things. A lot of escape rooms have a nerdy theme to them. If the person is traveling or lives near a theme park, you could give them the experience of Star Wars or Hogwarts. Or maybe there is a convention that they’ve wanted to go to locally or not, you could pay for a ticket into the convention. Know the persons means to get to go and do these things, but experiences, as I’ve gotten older, are often just as good a gift as something that will just sit around. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t some things that people just really want to get, I know that there are some things that I want, but experiences can be something fun and different. Even if it’s just setting up a gaming time where they get to pick all the games and you’ll play games you normally wouldn’t with them, that would be a great gift that is cheap.

There are a ton of nerdy things that you can get for people or experiences that you can share with someone around the holidays. And, obviously, these aren’t tied into Christmas, they work great for birthdays, anniversaries, or maybe the person just needs a pick me up, and you can do that for them.

Hopefully these lists have helped jog some ideas for you for the nerds in your life.

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My Top 100 Board Games – 90 – 81

My Top 100 Board Games – 90 – 81

We’re back again, now time for the disclaimer text. These rankings are the opinion of yours truly, and if you don’t like them, that’s okay. We all have different tastes in games and that is great. There are some games that I’ve only played as…