Role Playing Games Are For Everyone

Role playing games (RPGs) are unlike any other games and you should try them. Pretty much everyone I’ve introduced a RPG to has really enjoyed it and asked when we can play again.

So what is a RPG? A role playing game is a system where each person represents a character and plays through situations as that character. For example me and some friends played a game of Fiasco where we all were inhabitants of the Cloud City of Bespin from the Star Wars universe. We all had different goals and backgrounds and as the story progressed we developed our character and their relationships with other characters.

RPGs are a great tool to work on your creative thinking. What would you do if Darth Vader just landed in your city and you’re afraid for your life? Well let’s see! It’s like improvisational acting on steroids, you build the scene, you decide actions, you even sometimes decide outcomes. Sometimes, well many times, stories don’t go how you expect so you need to react differently. Like when a character you promised to protect decides she wants to go find Lando Calrissian instead of getting on the escape pod!

Another RPG that people are familiar with is Dungeons and Dragons. D&D has been around since the 70’s developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. D&D has rules built into the system to adjudicate the actions taken by a players character, dictated by a dungeon master. A Dungeon Master or DM is the head story teller. They lead the story but play off of the players as best they can.

So if you have a ranger shoot an arrow at something they get to roll a 20-sided die and add a modifier, the DM tells them what number they need to match and gives an outcome. This can add a lot of suspense to the game and when someone rolls a 20 the whole group cheers them on.

I’ve really fallen in love with RPGs it’s a great way to be creative, laugh, and tell stories.

One time when I was running a game for some friends I let them know they needed to get down the river to the other bridge or they’ll be stopped by guards. They throw ideas around and decide that using the magic boat one of the characters had would be the best route.

The character grabs her boat and casts the spell to make it a galley. A big boat to fit everyone and their giant accompanying them.

They all get on the boat and I ask “Who has navigation or naval vehicle proficiency?” They all look at each other and start laughing as they float down a rapid filled river on a boat that they can’t control.

After several rolls to see who hangs on during the rapids, they are throwing a rope out to Lapsa the ranger played by my wife. I told her “you have two failed checked before you drown.” The rest of them just had to get the rope to her and their check was a little easier. It was suspenseful and amazing and the team work and story telling that came from it will stay with me for a long time.

And that’s how I almost drowned my wife.

So if you’re brave and think you can save the world, or tear it down. RPGs are for you!

Fiasco
D&D

Less than a day for One Deck Dungeon!

One Deck Dungeon looks really neat. I’ve always wanted a game that uses things you defeat or win against to add to your character. This game looks like a nice neat package of fun. The only drawback is it’s designed for 2 players. I am backing it and hoping for a 3-4 player expansion with new cards instead of their recommended “use two of the same decks” I like variation and options so that didn’t excite me.

Either way this looks like a solid game.

Check it out on Kickstarter.

Magic Noob? That’s OK!

If you’re new to magic and you want to try it out here are a few steps you can take.

Magic Duels

First check out Magic Duels. Here it is on Steam for PC. This game is Free to play gives all the feeling of playing tabletop Magic, albeit slower. You even win booster packs by winning certain story mode games.

Duel Decks

Next get a duel deck and fight against your buddy. I recommend one of these two duel deck packs.
Zendikar vs Eldrazi or Kiora vs Elspeth

Zendikar vs Eldrazi is literally large monsters (the Eldrazi) against the land and it’s people (Zendikar). These two decks play really well off each other and show a variety of the different mechanics Magic has to offer. Eldrazi has creatures like Oblivion Sower which attempts to steal your opponents lands and use them to fuel it’s mayhem.
The Zendikar deck has cards like Avenger of Zendikar and Scute Mob. Avenger is a great late game card to overwhelm your enemy or jut put out enough blockers out to make their large creatures useless. Scute Mob is a neat card which has good flexibility in the early or late game.

Kiora vs Elspeth is fun because you get introduced to planeswalkers. Super magic users doing neat things. There is Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Kiora, The Crashing Wave. Elspeth commands soldiers that buff each other with neat life saving tactics and Kiora summons gigantic Krakens. Pick your pleasure, it’s going to get wild.

Drafting

Once you think you’ve mastered your duel deck throw yourself head first into drafting the current set. $10 – $15 usually at your local game store gets you 3- 5 packs worth of cards. You draft the card one at a time keeping what you pulled from the pack a secret. Then you use the cards to create a deck on the spot and go head-to-head against the other players. It’s often said that this is one of the best ways to get better at Magic: The Gathering.

My Unrecommandations

Ok, there has been a few games that I just didn’t enjoy and here they are.

Avalon

This game is all about arguing and lying and convincing others you’re not in the role you are in. The half dozen times I played it I was so uninterested in the social aspect that I become a pawn to someone else’s plan. This game definitely has an audience but not with me.

Space Cadets: Dice Duels
This game… Oh man. This game, is a simple game of rolling dice until your brain throbs. You have a ship captain that is controlling everything while the others are doing shields and guns. trying to roll matches or combinations for certain things. I love rolling dice, like RPGs, but this is too much. It’s like having a drink versus finishing a whole bottle of wine yourself.

Quelf

Quelf isn’t horrible but it needs some house-ruling to make it bearable. Each new card gives you new rule and you obey the rule for the whole game. I think the cards should fall off after a round or when you get a new one. Sometimes there are so many rules the game gets stagnate. Rolling a 5 and then moving 5 spaces forward but saying/doing the wrong things and moving back 4 spaces. It has potential but beware it’s hard game to stomach.

Honorable Mention: Concept

Is there any games you’ve played and you didn’t enjoy?

Summer Activities For Nerds

There is a couple activities that fit us nerds better than you might think. Here’s a couple:

Disc Golf is an excellent group activity to get you and your friends outside and on your feet. Disc golf courses are usually free to play and the discs are cheap. To play you choose an appropriate disc and throw it at the basket. Less throws the better.

You can keep score or you can just hangout and throw your discs and cheer each other on. I don’t keep score against others I just try to improve a little against myself each time.

If you’re just starting out here is what I recommend you start with. A Driver, a midrange, and a floppy putter.

Another awesome outdoor game is Bocce ball. Bocce can be played in a grassy area, sand, or dirt. Some parks have Bocce courses that are long sand pits similar to the size of a horseshoe pit.

Bocce is a game between two teams of either 1 player or 2 players on each team. First a team throws a small white ball called the jack or pallino and then the teams take turns to throw their larger black/green or red/orange balls closest to the jack. The team closest is the only team scores and they count the balls closer than their opponent to the jack. The game is typically played to 7, 13, or 21.

For those in wheelchairs there is also a hard surface version called Boccia made with leather balls. This looks really cool and if you’d like to read more info about the sport, check here.

If you have another outdoor activity that’s great for a gamer, nerd, geek, etc. let us know in the comments.

Gateway Games

Not everyone you’ll meet is going to want to game as hard as you. So what games do you introduce them to so you don’t scare them away, and they keep coming back? Here we’ll look at some gateway games.
 
First figure out what they have played before and what they enjoyed.
 
If this soon to be nerd likes Monopoly because trading resources and building things invite them to play Catan. The rules are simple, the game play is quick, and the strategy isn’t so deep that a new gamer gets turned off. Also most people have already seen this game somewhere.
 
If your new gamer has only played chess and likes “thinky” games show them Tsuro or Ticket to Ride. Tsuro is a tile placement game where you try to keep your dragon piece on the board while simultaneously try to force your opponents into compromised positions. Ticket to Ride is a train placement game trying to connect routes efficiently while blocking your opponent. Both of these games you’re trying to further your strategy while hindering their progress.
 
Lastly for those card players; 21, Poker, and Rummy introduce them to Dead Man’s Draw. This card game is incredibly easy to play. You push your luck trying to get the highest score while the different suits (10 of them) cause different abilities to trigger, like forcing a discard or stealing a card from an opponent.
 
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Here are links for the listed games