Tag Archives: rpg

Something a little more game-y…

I’ve gotten into board games over the past two years, so for something random today, here’s my opinion on a selection!

Forbidden Desert art Forbidden Desert is a co-operative board game. There are multiple ways to die and not many ways to win; you can get swamped by sand, die of thirst, get lost in a desert, get buried in a tunnel, die when the storm reaches its height… seriously, it’s great fun! Part of the charm for me is the gorgeous design; the concept artwork has inspired several of my stories and getting to play with the beautiful tiles is an additional pleasure. It almost makes the dying worthwhile…

The game mechanic is fairly simple; it takes a game to get the hang of it, and then you can start playing strategy! Do you stay in a tunnel to be safe from the sun, or make a run across the shifting sand to get the one piece of the engine you need to get out of the desert? Can you all get to that well, and will it be the mirage or are you saved for a few more turns? It’s one of my housemate’s go-to games, and it’s not unusual for one of us to say “So, want to die in a desert?” to the other! I’d highly recommend the game if you’re looking to buy something new – it’s definitely a favourite. (Ps. Waterstones usually sell it!)

Forbidden Island artForbidden Island is made by the same people as Forbidden Desert, but in the expert opinion of someone who has played both repeatedly, it’s slightly less fun. The game mechanic is fairly similar, but there’s less peril overall (seriously, it’s one of the fun things about Forbidden Desert!) and the game becomes more about “leave yourself a path and try to stop everything sinking” than any major strategic decisions. However, it’s got the same beautiful artwork and is still a very entertaining game.

Another card game I’ve recently been introduced to Saboteur, which I need to get hold of! Unfortunately for our first game we ended up with two saboteurs and two dwarves, who promptly lost when every single ******* tunnel kept getting blown up…it’s a misdirection and outright lying game in the theme of Avalon and Coup if you’ve played either of those. It’s also quite a lot of fun!

One of my personal favourite games is Cards Against Humanity; I’m aware that a lot of people have problems with it and I can understand that, but I personally love the juxtaposition of the mundane with the absurd, and the chance to let my incredibly sarky and dark humour out of its box. I do find with CAH that it varies by players; the answers will always be different depending on the humour of the people you’re playing with! I think my favourite answer of all time has to be “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition…our chief weapons are fear, surprise, and [POWERFUL THIGHS]” which is just complete WIN!

Werewolf cardsAnother group game is Werewolf, which is a variation on the Mafia and Fox/Goose games. Someone, or several someones, are werewolves, killing people in the night…and it’s up to everyone to work out who they are before they kill all the innocent villagers! It can be adapted nicely to a wonderful variety of situations (Murder Town, Star Trek, horror movies, specific insults geared towards whichever friends you happen to have there…) and you can either play with the standard werewolf/villager combo, or add in special abilities. It does require a bit of drama on the part of the narrator, and I was really nervous the first few times I played – but it’s an absolutely brilliant way to break the ice, and I really enjoy playing now.

Exploding Kittens explodingExploding Kittens. We opted out of introducing this to my cousins ( we didn’t think “NOPE sandwich with NOPE ketchup” would go down too well with my aunt) but various friends have picked it up, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing! It’s very silly, fairly strategic, and generally based half on luck and half on screwing other people over with very cute cats. Lots of fun!

Apotheca coverAnd finally, one I’m looking forward to. I backed a Kickstarter for Apotheca last year; the artwork looks beautiful and the game looks like a lot of fun! It seems to be reaching a conclusion so I’m hoping I get to play soon.


Apotheca cards

Let the games re-start!

Everything tends to tail off during November, unless it involves writing (for fairly obvious reasons…writing 1600 words a day does tend to take up the time otherwise occupied by normal life. So, gaming also got put on hold; I did try to do one game in the last week, but a combination of brain-deadness from the writing and general anxiety over the game itself meant that we just spent the evening writing (which was fun!) However, we’re now into December. Let the games begin!

I started again with the wolf-pack last night for my GM’d game; they got a task from a rather unpleasant member of the Winter Court and then went chasing all over Swindon via McDonalds, a donut shop and finally an ice-cream parlour…! They’re a fun duo to play with as one player is thoughtful, while the other is silly and tends to prefer wolf-form, so sarcastic comments and barks are the norm, versus the human player’s actual, y’know, speech. A few members of my other group are starting up again next week as well, probably looking for an ever-so-shiny stone that could cause a few problems.

Looking to forward planning for this campaign, I’m starting to integrate the next stage of the plan into it. The first stage was to gain items, which the groups have been doing. They haven’t yet found out what the items are going to be used for…which may possibly be Teh End of Teh Worldz, or at least something approaching it in true Dresden style! However, being one of my games, it’s not quite that straightforward. There’s two sides and multiple choices, and they don’t all have to do the same thing or will know the same things. It could be quite a lot of fun…well, for me. (Everyone is assuring me they are enjoying playing, despite what their characters might think). So, next stage is to plot a longer session for my wolf-pack, and finish up the final couple of items with my other groups. The thoughtful ones might start the End of The World discovery plot, but if not…hey, things are gonna happen anyway!

In the other game, coincidentally, it’s also the Apocalypse. We’ve been aiming towards something for the last seven casefiles and it’s finally arrived, although unfortunately the GM is being extremely evil and has dumped three plots in together…so it’s zombies, chaos, Big Baddies and…well, us. Yay. But it’s going to be nice to round everything off and get this finished, as it’s been a year and a half in the playing! I love the game, so it’s frustrating that we haven’t been able to play as often as I’d like. On the other side of that, though, the other player are probably grateful we haven’t :-/ so hey, it teaches me patience.

I admit I am (was? I hope) struggling with anxiety for my GM’d game. No matter how much my players reassure me that they’re enjoying playing, my brain interprets that as “they’re just being nice” and then goes into “I did all these tiny things WRONG” and then, if I don’t manage to shut it up, does a nice “I’m so CRAP” which is just annoying. I also had the added anxiety of looking at my plots and just feeling that they were useless; I had no imagination, I hadn’t come up with anything interesting, I had no character hooks and no backstories and why were people even playing with me?

It took my wolf-player pointing out that a) we haven’t really played that much and everyone’s still working out their characters, and b) I have A LOT OF PLOT, to make me calm down. I also realised where some of the anxiety comes from; I don’t want to be That GM, and I’ve read so much about shitty GMs online (and played with one or two) that I’m a little paranoid about what I’m doing wrong. I have to remember that I am a new GM, despite everything; I’ve only played a few games! This is my first long planned campaign. So…I need to have confidence in my world and my imagination, and also gives my players more credit; they’re as good at world-building as I am! I can give them free rein and they will enjoy playing, whatever I throw at them. Yes, I can always get better, but I’m not That GM. I’ve got a world that people want to explore, and they’re still surprising me with their directions. I need to trust that they enjoy playing as much as I enjoy GM’ing.

I did manage to chill out and enjoy the game yesterday; I’m looking forward to both of my games next week, both as a player and a GM. It is good to be playing again!

Random updates from the end of October 2015

Just realised that I left quite a few odd threads hanging over the last few months. Let me know if I haven’t updated on anything you’re wondering about!

Fox_fabricSewing: I finished my skirt for Non with the sari fabric and my fox fabric skirt, and I’m currently working on a long skirt in a beautiful green-with-gold-inserts fabric. I’ve also got some curtains to make (wooh, wild life!) and I’m continuing with my sampler for my friend’s wedding, which is now background and so is dull, and time-consuming. I need to continue working my way through the Studio Ghibli collection so I can sew while watching things!

Music: it’s currently all on the back-burner. I’ve stopped singing lessons and haven’t managed to get to the piano in the Chapel for a few weeks (mostly due to stories in my head that are trying to get out!) I want to be playing the piano at home more often, so I’m going to try to fit that into my days off. But ho hum, at least it’s something I’ll be able to pick up again when writing’s not quite as chaotic.

Dresden Files: Casefile 7 is finished; it was a pretty chaotic fight but everything did get sorted in the end. So that’s the end for my involvement as GM in that game – the next few casefiles are potential chaos and Teh End Of Teh Worldz so that should be fun, but it’s not going to be until December at the earliest (it’s ok, everyone’s safe for a month…)

Vicky with wolf ears

In the NeverNever campaign, I had a really fun session with two of my more thoughtful players, which involved silly hats, a bad Welsh accent and the set-up for a meeting with a powerful wizard…that’s next session and that should be fun! I’ve got a session tonight with some werewolves that should be silly (we’re using the wolf ears!) so that’s cool. It’s tailing off a little over November as everyone’s chaotic with NaNo, but we’re still going to try to have one or two sessions.

Writing audit: I mentioned in my writing PLN that I wanted to do an audit. Well, I did one…I’ve written 654000 words over the last two years!

And the rest is short stories, Madcap Library, and a few longer works. It’s kinda terrifying, and also a reminder to myself that I can do this! 100,000 words is nothing!

TBR pile: Har Har. Not happening. I haven’t even got round to The Aeronaut’s Windlass, which I’ve been looking forward to for weeks! The pile has grown, though. *sigh*

Benny asleep
A bonus cute cat picture!

NaNo: I’m preppin’…I’m currently plotting for Crystals and Communications, aka Book 9 (it’s been in my head during my walks to work, so that’s good!) and I may end up writing that. I’m just going to flit between whatever and see what happens!

And finally: we’re going to Edinburgh in a few weeks! I finally get to bounce round and plot stories for my statues story! I love that city so much. We’re going to be staying up near the Castle, and we’ve got five days there…it’s going to be amazing. (And probably horrible weather, but oh well.) WHEEE!

On a lack of writing (and the reasons)

I’ve been plotting and reading instead!

My reading list has grown (again) – I’m currently on The Aeronaut’s Windlass. I’m also looking forward to Adrian‘s latest, as he’s been updating us with his rewrite progress and it’s almost done – eeeeeh! I’ve got the first ten chapters of a historical fiction set in the Napoleonic era to read as well; I read the first four chapters at SFW and liked it, as it’s sort of a mystery-thriller with a reluctant hero and a very nicely described world, so I’m looking forward to reading more.

NN cardsAs for gaming, I’ve done a seperate post on my Dresden Files casefile (spoiler: no-one’s died…yet) and the next session is in a few weeks for the second half of that. I’ve also got a second game ongoing, which I can now say a little more about. The setting is in the NeverNever (aka. the Faerie side of the world, a land of monsters and myths, a shadowed and fairytale place…and one where there’s something unexpected around every corner), and the basic plot is for my PCs to collect items, by any means necessary! There’s a number of items and I’ve got quite a few plot strands going for that, so I’ve been creating cards/spreadsheets/notes to keep everything straight.NN spreadsheet

I’ve had a lot of fun creating the item cards for it – I figured that physical cards might help people decide what items they were chasing, and it’s also something tactile. Sam and I are currently discussing options for other sets of magic cards and items cards, so we’ll see if that goes anywhere – I get to play with fractals and fonts anyway.

Wolf-earsI also spent this morning making wolf ears – it’s a serious problem when you don’t know if a character’s going to answer in human or wolf! I have got to finish them but they were quite fun to do.

As well as the two main Dresden games (my casefile and the NeverNever game), I’ve volunteered for a few other things. I’m spending this afternoon planning characters for a sandbox game (still in the NeverNever setting) so that one of my players can explore a bit further, and also revising a one-shot that involves werewolves and murder for two players. I’m also creating character profiles on our wiki site and updating the map. It’s very geeky and a lot of fun!

Dresden Files: my casefile

I might have mentioned a few times that I’m involved in a Dresden Files RPG game, and that I got to steal one casefile from our GM. And finally, finally, I got to play it!

TL;DR*: no-one’s died yet (despite their best efforts) and they didn’t screw up too badly. They’ve gone chasing after the baddies and we stopped just before one of the main bosses turns up, so next session is going to be a lot of fighting…

If you want (probably long) details, then read on!

*Too Long; Didn’t Read.

Continue reading Dresden Files: my casefile