Tag: Campaign

Back or Brick: Primal The Awakening

Back or Brick: Primal The Awakening

It’s an epic monster hunt as you and your fellow hunters work cooperatively to take down massive monsters in this boss battler board game.

Friday Night D&D: Tower of the Gods Session 12

Friday Night D&D: Tower of the Gods Session 12

We’re back again after a pretty long holiday break with some more of the Tower of the Gods campaign. Things are starting to become a little bit clearer for the players as to what is going on. Though they still seem to be fixated on 

Dungeons and Dragons Essentials

Dungeons and Dragons Essentials

Dungeons and Dragons is a game that a lot of people love and that is really popular right now. I’ve done a lot of articles on it in the past, though not as many recently because, well, after covering the classes, backgrounds, alignments, campaign building, world building and more, while there are a lot of topics left to cover there aren’t a lot of big topics left to cover. I decided that we should start at the very beginning, and let’s look at what you need to have even to start a campaign.

The Dungeon Master

The Dungeon Master has the most that they need, and even that isn’t all that much. As the Dungeon Master there are two books that you need, plus a few other things. The two books are Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook and Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. There are a lot more books, but those are the two books that you need.

The Player’s Handbook is going to have all the options for your players as to how they can build their characters, or at least what they need to know for starting out in a very first game. There are additional books with more options, but those are just options, and you don’t need all of them to start, or really ever. The Monster Manual is going to give you a ton of things for your players to fight against and to build a campaign around. It’s really a great way to figure out what you are going to do in your campaign by just flipping through the book.

The last thing that only the Dungeon Master needs to provide, in my opinion, is character sheets. Now, not filled out ones, but ones for filling out for session 0. This doesn’t meant that they don’t need more, but it’s stuff that everyone will need. The character sheets are important because I’m not going to recommend that players have the Player’s Handbook, for me that is not an essential thing. So as the Dungeon Master, that person will have a copy of the character sheet they can make photocopies of, or you can find it easily online and print them.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

What Does Everyone Need

I thought that I was going to split this between the players and the dungeon master, but really, the dungeon master just has more that they need to have before starting a game. So what do you recommend that everyone has?

Firstly, everyone should have their own set of dice. Personally, I probably have enough dice sets for 15 people comfortably, but that’s just me and a lot of other players who have been playing longer. When you start out, a single set of dice (should be 7 dice) is all that you need. It should have a D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20, and percentile die in it (D4 = four sided die, D6 = six sided, etc). While you might need to roll some of the dice multiple times for things, you don’t truly need more than one set.

Next I think everyone should have a pencil, which you need for making your character, but also a notebook. The notebook, or paper, is for taking notes. It’ll be handy for character creation, but also for during the campaign remembering everything that is going on. For the players, they should be jotting down what they find interesting, what seems to be important plot points, etc. For the dungeon master, you’d be using it for keeping track of NPC’s, plot points you’re creating, and general recaps of what the players have done.

And really that’s about it that everyone needs to get going on a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

What I skipped

So, I do think it’ll be useful to talk about some of the things that I skipped as well and why I skipped them.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

Why not the Player’s Handbook for the players or everyone?

I don’t think that the players really need the players handbook. It is nice to have at least an extra copy around for character creation and leveling up, but it isn’t needed. So if someone wants to spend the money on it they can, but you really just need one copy. Also, for new players, they often get stuck in the rule book looking something up during the game and not paying attention. So for a lot of people it detracts from the game instead of enhances it having their own copy.

And the Dungeon Master’s Guide for the Dungeon Master, why not that?

While the Dungeon Master’s Guide contains a lot of useful information, it can be overwhelming. What magical items are out there is interesting, but is a lot. How to create an NPC or a bad guy also interesting, but also can be done without it. I think personally it’d have been too much for me at the start. The information is really good, but it could lead to delays in starting playing because of trying to get your campaign “right”.

Finally, these are the physical things that are essential for playing Dungeons and Dragons. Things like being willing to try it, having a good attitude, having fun, and everyone else having fun, those are important as well. And I will talk about those coming up because they are important, in fact more important. Without what is above, you can play something close to Dungeons and Dragons, but your experience won’t be as full as if you started with all of those. Thankfully, you can make it a pretty cheap hobby with cheap dice and those few books.

What do you consider to be essential for starting playing Dungeons and Dragons?

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Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 11

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 11

After a Holiday break and before another Holiday break, we are back for some more D&D. But we had the full group of Bokken, Barrai, Thrain, and Kip back for one more time in 2020. Last time, if you remember, our Bokken player was missing 

Point of Order: Top 100 Buys

Point of Order: Top 100 Buys

I won’t lie, some of this was retail therapy. With the election season wrapping up and daylight saving time and the fact that MN has had snow accumulation before Thanksgiving (and before Halloween), it’s been a long few weeks. So I spent a bit of 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 20 THROUGH 11

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 20 THROUGH 11

This is it, the penultimate list in my Top 100 games. What will have risen, what might have dropped out of my Top 10, you’ll have to see. If you need to catch-up, I have links below.

100 to 91

90 to 81

80 to 71

70 to 61

60 to 51

50 to 41

40 to 31

30 to 21

Plus a few notes on how I’ve put together the list:

  • These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100
  • If a game you love isn’t on the list, it might be be coming, I might not have played it, and if I have, it’s 101
  • If a game looks cool, I have links to buy it from CoolStuffInc or Amazon, or you can grab most at your FLGS
  • There are a few games, Destiny 2 Player versus regular Destiny where if they are basically the same thing, I only do one of them
Image Source: Board Game Geek

20. Letter Jam

Most word games aren’t cooperative and they tend to be the person who has the biggest vocabulary or maybe in some games it’s pattern recognition. This one has some of that in it, but it isn’t based off of who knows more words since everyone is trying to use deduction to figure out what their letters are and then unscramble them to figure out what word they have. This game is really clever in that you can see one letter from everyone else but you can’t see yours. So you are having to deduce what letters you have based off of the words that people are creating and the letters you can see. For example, if I have a “Z” and I can see that other players have an I, Px2, E, and R, I can now slightly to narrow down what letter I have. Granted, that’s not a great clue because I don’t know mine so it could be a “TIPPER”, “DIPPER” or something of the like. Plus, not only am I trying to figure out my letters so I can unscramble them to figure out my word, I have to be helping everyone else doing that as well. The game just works really well and it’s very puzzly. I also like the game because it can handle a larger group of players without it feeling bogged down because hopefully, everyone is in on the clue word being given to help deduce their letters. Finally, I really like how this game forces you to think about the clue you’re going to give and give a good clue. You want to make it so that at least someone can basically lock in a letter or at least really help them narrow it down so they can make an educated guess.

Last Year: 27

Image Source: EmperorS4

19. Hanamikoji

The highest pure two player game on the list, Hanamikoji is a really fun and fast abstract game. In this game you are trying to win the favor of Geisha so that they will visit your restaurant. Do to this, you are giving them gifts and winning their favor. But how you give gifts is what makes this game really shine. Each player has four actions they can do a round, and they have to do each of the actions once. So they can discard two cards, face down, and they won’t be used for winning favor. They can put a card face down that will be used for winning favor. They can put out three cards face up and their opponent picks one and those are immediately used for winning favor. Or you can put out two sets of two cards, face up, and your opponent picks one and you get the other set for immediately winning favor. The game has a great push and pull feel to it as you fight for favor, and you use your cards to hide some information from your opponent as well as let them make the tough decisions for you when you split and they choose or they pick one of the three. It’s a very thinky game and really is wonderful as a two player filler game.

Last Year: 13

Image Source: Amazon

18. Sagrada

Some games just look amazing on the table, and Sagrada is really one of those games. The translucent dice really give you the feel of the stained glass window that you are creating. And the game itself is a great dice drafting game. In this game you are making a stained glass window, and depending on the difficulty of your window, you need some certain numbers and colors in certain locations. And you can’t have the the dice orthogonal to the one you placed match the number or color, that is up and down and left and right. So you have to plan things out, you can’t place in the orthogonal spots a three if you are locked into having a certain number, a three, in a location on the board. There’s some strategy to the game, some luck, and the luck is actually mitigated quite nicely by the fact that you every game you have some tools out, there tools can allow you to draft two dice at once, or maybe move a die after it’s been placed, draw out a new die and use that one, there are a lot of different things all which help you mitigate the luck. Plus, the scoring is variable as well. You don’t get points for completely filling in your window, but you do lose points for empty spots, and you have a secret scoring objective as well as three public ones, which might be no repeated colors in a column gets you 6 points, or something like that, and you can score each column. The game is very variable and works really well.

Last Year: 20

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

17. Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Dropping all of 11 spots, this is mainly because I haven’t gotten this game to the table in a little bit, I really do need to as every time I play the game I really enjoy it. In this game you are playing through linked scenarios that tell a larger story, campaign style. You have a deck for an investigator, that you’ve constructed based off of deck construction rules, that you are using to fight monster, get clues, and figure out what it happening in the story. What works so well in this game is that the scenarios can vary wildly. Even n the base box, in the first scenario you are going to be fighting some and looking for clues, second scenario, you don’t want to fight much and you are trying to find as many cultists are possible. And depending on what you do, you might get access to certain cards, scenarios might be harder or easier, the game is just really well designed that way. And you can also change your difficulty level really easily as there is a modifier bag, and you can scale how difficult or easy you want it based off of what is in there. And the story can branch based off of what you’ve done, now it might not branch massively, but you can make a difference in how easy or hard or where the story goes based off of what you do in previous scenarios. This is one that I really need to play more of.

Last Year: 6

Image Source: Board Game Geek

16. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Now, I talk very often about how I don’t like social deduction games, this is one that I really like. There’s one huge reason that I really like the game and that’s because you can immediately start accusing people and trying to figure out what is happening in the case. In most social deduction games you’re basically taking a stab in the dark the first round or so as you guess who might be a traitor and who might not be a traitor. But in this one, the second the forensic scientist puts out the first report, you have something you can actually work with. In this game one person is a murder who picks from the four clues and murder weapons in front of them, one of each that they, the forensic scientist, and if there’s an accomplice know. The person playing the forensic scientist ends up then passing up reports, such as murder location, and with that, you can immediately start to talk and come up with what of all the clues and murder weapons would make sense there. So you are immediately doing something as players and immediately doing something meaningful. This game also lends itself to way more story that just comes naturally from the mechanics of the game which also make it more enjoyable. Dropped a little bit, but that’s more because other things have moved up, this is an amazing game for big groups.

Last Year: 10

Image Source: Renegade Games

15. Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure

Another one from the Top 10 that has dropped and this again has to do with it not being played all that often recently., I have an expansion for this game that I haven’t even used yet, so I want to get it to the table, but it’s been a hard year to play a ton of games, and deck builders are not games that work well via Zoom. in this game you are going into the most secure location on Lord Eradikus’ ship stealing his treasure. Along the way you’ll make noise, things will go clank, and he’ll realize someone is on his ship. Can you get in and out before he gets you and with the best and most valuable treasure so you will win? This game is an improvement, in my opinion out of the base box on the fantasy themed Clank!. The game definitely doesn’t take itself seriously, and it has fixed an issue I have with Clank! where you can rush in grab a treasure and leave and rush the end of the game, here you can do that kind of but not nearly as effectively, so it’s worth it to push for a better treasure, if you can. The theme is fun and they keep it super light, and I love deck-building, so an easy game to put high on my list.

Last Year: 9

Image Source: Board Game Geek

14. Welcome To…

Highest roll and write or flip and write on the list. Welcome To… is just a fun game for me, I like the strategy that goes into it as you race for various scoring cards and you still building and upgrading your scoring the best you can. This game is all about building your perfect 1960’s neighborhood with white picket fences, 2.5 children and dogs, well, those last two aren’t in the game, but you are filling in streets, putting in house numbers, building parks and swimming pools. What makes this game really work for me is that you’re using one of three combinations of a house number and an ability on your turn. And you can see the upcoming abilities for the next turn, but you won’t know the house number. You’re trying to balance filling in streets, getting more scoring by having more parks or pools, but also getting the points from the objectives as well. There game isn’t complex, but it’s a good time and great for large groups.

Last Year: 12

Image Source: CMON

13. XenoShyft: Onslaught

Another deck building game and another one that has dropped out of my top 10, does that mean I like them less? Nope, there’s just so many good games. I really like XenoShyft: Onslaught because it is a cooperative deck building game where you are fighting off wave after wave of bug monsters with your force of troops on an alien planet. What I like about this game is that you have your hand of cards, but you always get a free money card to add to your hand every turn, so you are never short on money. But to go with that, you also are able to help other people as they prepare their defenses, so if I have the armory as my location that I’m defending, it means I can get weapons at a discount, so maybe I have too many weapons and not enough troops to deal with a wave, so I might give someone else a weapon from my hand, and maybe that person has the barracks and has more troops and they will put a troop into my row. I like how each role a person can take feels different and can help the group in different ways. And I like that you can bolster someone else’s deck as well. Now, this is a tough game to win, but one that is a lot of fun and for fans of deck building is working quite well.

Last Year: 7

Image Source: Space Cowboys

12. T.I.M.E. Stories

Another dropper from the Top 10, and this one I have actually played several times since last year’s list, I think this is dropping more because of other games moving up than anything I have an issue with. This is still an amazing puzzle game where you are trying to go through the story and figure out everything that is happening and how to stop the time incursion that is threatening to change up the world. They do a great job with just basically using cards of making the game feel really different depending on the scenario that you play. And while the story isn’t always the strongest on a given scenario there is basically always something unique and different to try. I also like how you do multiple runs, sure that means you are repeating stuff sometimes, but it allows you to really explore the world and it feels thematic to how the world and the technology works. I know a lot of people way that this drops off in some of the scenarios, but through five now, I’ve enjoyed them all, and while there could be a better and bigger story unfolding through all of them, I like all the scenario stories.

Last Year: 5

Image Source: Awaken Realms

11. Lords of Hellas

New game alert, now this is actually a game that’s been out a couple of years, but I just got it last year and got it to the table in February of this year. Lords of Hellas is a big minis game, but actually plays really smoothly with some euro style mechanics being blended in with amerithrash. In this game each player has a hero who leads their troops and moves around the board building temples, fighting monsters, building statues, and conquering lands. In this game you have a number of different ways to win, you could fight and defeat three monsters, you could hold five temples, you could conquer two regions and all their territories, you could control a completed statue, the game gives you a lot of ways to win, and even with that, in a five player game, we had three of the five a turn away from winning when the game ended, and the other two players were two turns away from winning. The game has a lot of fun mechanics, and your hero has their own unique ability and as temples are built, your faction gets more and more unique abilities that helps you focus how you are going to play the game and how you might win. This is game that I want to play more, it’s just a bit of a beast to get to the table and it doesn’t really play over something like Zoom, so it might have to sit on my shelf for a while, because I feel like there is a lot of variability and a lot of cool things to be done in the game.

Last Year: Not Ranked

So, we have a bunch of movement here. 5 from the 2019 Top 10 are now in this section of the list, and we have at #11 a game that I hadn’t even played last year that has rocketed up the boards. This of course means with the Top 10, we have 5 new games to that section of the list, are they new games, or are they games that are just on the rise as I’ve played them more, we’ll have to wait to see. But your guesses for my Top 10 games in the comments below, and let me know your favorites on this part of the Top 100.

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Point of Order: Parade and Pinball and more

Point of Order: Parade and Pinball and more

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, mainly because what I’ve grabbed has been immediate from my FLGS the last few times and mainly been expansions for Marvel Champions. Though, I did pick up Yggdrasil Chronicles when I was there, as 

Point of Order: Reichbusters Projekt Vril

Point of Order: Reichbusters Projekt Vril

There are some games out there that when you see them, you know it’s probably going to be a game that you will like. And for that reason, you might not want to pick it up because there’s a lot of stuff for the game. 

Friday Night D&D – Rebirth

Friday Night D&D – Rebirth

The old gods have fallen and new ones have risen up in there place. But the lands are not any better, that is the world your players find themselves in. Everything is dirty, everything is grim, the new gods care only about themselves and their celebrations and being worshiped, not about the plight of the creatures of their lands.

Things were tolerable when the new gods were getting along, but now they’ve split into three factions all vying for more worshipers than the others and to gain more power or sway over the lands. Old elves remember when the new gods worked together, but now it’s been hundreds of years, lands are in famine, there are wars and battles starting daily as the new gods push for more people to worship them.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

This world sucks, it’s going to be hard, but that’s where the PC’s (Player characters) will be dropped into. A world at constant war where the gods only intervene on behalf of an army or to cause other havoc. The PC’s are going to be part of a group that has had enough and has felt the call to do something about the new gods. A righteous anger has awoken in them, some might say.

The player should be at war against the new gods, but obviously a first level character going up against a god won’t work, even a 15th level character might not work. So we’re starting out with some find the artifact quests and finding out and dealing with more charismatic or violent followers of the new gods who are pushing the conflicts. Basically working on a rising action towards becoming a notable threat to the new gods.

The artifact quests are going to be important to do in this campaign because they are going to tie the players into one of the old gods. When I say Rebirth for the name, it’s because the righteous anger and the desire to stand-up to the new gods is going to be because they have the power of or are an old god that is awakening again in a new host. If they can survive and take out the new gods, then the old gods can return the world to what it once was, assuming there is a world left to. So we’re talking finding some legendary level artifacts, whether they are weapons, armor, skills, whatever it might be. I’d be tempted to create a boon that they can unlock if they complete something in the campaign, some extremely powerful ability that might wreck your normal game balance, but something that they’ll have to unleash that is specific to their old gods powers. An example, if you went with someone like Thor as an old god would be a +3 hammer that has some extra properties that can be unlocked, like when it hits, it deals damage of the call lightning spell at level 3, or you can unlock a once a day ability to use the hammer to cast call lightening at level 9, or you cast the spell and then every time you hit it causes 3d10 lightning damage, something awesome and epic like that. Also possibly make them evolving weapons, so if it is Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, make it a +1 hammer to start, add in something like, if you fight during a storm it does 1d6 lightning damage later, now a +2 hammer, and so on.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Eventually when the players are high enough level, they will end up facing off against the gods. Make this challenging, and make this a gauntlet of sorts. Also, give them a chance to have weakened the gods. Keep in mind that the gods want worshipers, and the new god who is doing the best is the one with most worshipers, make that obvious to the players with a bunch of obvious clues. See if the players will try and get worshipers themselves to boost their power, if they do, boost their power. Or whomever of the new gods has the most worshipers, have them be the final boss. Make lesser minion gods or angels or demons or demi-gods that will fight with the bigger badder new gods. Also, give the players a choice where to fight, let them fight in the heavens or depths or on the world, and if they choose world, make catastrophes happen when the new gods swing, it’ll give you some cinematic moments where the new gods are ripping trees out of a the ground, a new god comes down from the heavens and flattens a mountain, things like that.

Eventually, the players either win and the ascend up to the heavens with other awakened old gods, or they fail and as they are dying, they feel a presence leave them of the old gods as they go off to find new hosts in five hundred years that can take on the new gods.

Would you play in a game like this? Would you run a game like this? How would you make it seem like the PC’s are hosts for old gods?

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Friday Night D&D- A New Life

Friday Night D&D- A New Life

One of the most common tropes for D&D, and I am not even sure how it started is that you wake up in a dungeon, no gear, and no memory of how you got there. This is used to kick off campaigns somewhat often because