Monday, October 30, 2017

Magic Gift Pack

This Week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the Magic Gift Pack and who the target market for it is.

Friday, October 27, 2017

RPG of the Week Tunnels and Trolls

If you are looking for an easy to learn and easy to play RPG, you cannot do much better than Tunnels and Trolls. T&T, considered by many the second RPG to hit print (it released about 6 months after the original D&D did) and one of the simplest as well. With spell names like "Take That, You Fiend" "Hidey Hole" and "Freeze Pleeze", it is obvious that designer Ken St. Andre  had a sense of humor when it came to spell creation, among other things. Still TnT is a very well designed game and is still in print, just like D&D and unlike so many of the RPGs that debuted in its footsteps.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Boardgame of the Week: Pandemic Legacy 2

Normally I focus on older games for the Boardgame of the Week but wanted to call your attention to the 2nd season of Pandemic Legacy since this one differs somewhat from Season 1. In Season 1, players worked together to stop the pandemic and removed cubes from the board to show how effectively they had stopped the spread of the disease. Well, guess what? You failed.

In season 2, the pandemic spread, wiping out much of the population. You and your team work together to get supplies to the survivors, bringing back civilization from the brink of collapse, placing cubes indicating successfully delivered supplies. You are still the heroes though.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Why We Don't Buy Yu Gi Oh! (or Pokemon) Cards

The store will pay cash for most items:  RPG books, boardgames, Magic cards, even comic books (but very little). The two things we will not pay cash for are Pokemon cards and Yu Gi Oh cards. The reason for this dates back to the first time Pokemon got hot in the late 1990s. We had a lot, I mean a LOT, of people bringing us Pokemon collections to sell. Many of these people obviously had no idea what Pokemon was, how to play the game, or even how to read one of the cards. They just knew that the cards were popular and a lot of them were worth a lot of money and wanted to know how much we would pay for them.

After a bit, we started worrying about the possibility of the store receiving stolen property so decided to stop offering cash for Pokemon cards and instead only offering trade. We figured that the people who really played the game would happily trade their old cards for store credit they could use to get new or different ones while people who might have stolen cards in the hopes of selling them would not want the store credit. Time proved us correct as the number of people who obviously knew nothing about the cards they wanted to sell dropped off to nearly zero. When Yu Gi Oh! hit big in the early 2000s, we noticed a similar trend in people coming in wanting to sell collections who obviously again knew nothing about the game, so we quickly extended the "Trade Only" policy to Yu Gi Oh!

Surprisingly, at least to us, we have never had that big a problem with stolen Magic cards coming through here. I would hazard that Magic has never entered the public zeitgeist to the level that Pokemon and  Yu Gi Oh have. We have never had people lined up 12 deep waiting to get into the store to get a promotional Magic card they way they have for Pokemon and I am still waiting for MDonald's to release promotional Magic cards the way they did promotional Yu Gi Oh! cards.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

WizKids and Games Workshop

This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the probable outcomes from the recently announced Games Workshop partnership with WizKids. I'm hoping for a relaunch of Oi', Dat's My Leg.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Boardgame of the Week Saboteur

For those of you who like the "screw with the other players" type of game, I call your attention to Saboteur, an early version of the genre for only $15.  Saboteur has gone through several publishers and comes through Mayfair Games now.

In the game, players lay cards down from the start, trying to reach the gold nuggets. Broken axes, cave-ins and busted lanterns can impede progress but all players are working more ore (see what I did there) less together, except for the secret saboteur dwarves who play block cards without appearing to play block cards and only win if the other players fail. This is a great game for anywhere from 3 to 10 players while the standalone Sabotuer 2 can handle up to 12 players.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RPG of the Week Rifts

Rifts has been around since the 1980s, starting out as the Palladium Fantasy RPG, then, as Palladium Games slowly put up more RPGs using the same basic system, gradually developed into the first, and longest lives, multi-genre RPG. Both GURPS and Torg attempted to do something similar but GURPS never managed to make a system that allowed you to take the same character, without modification, from one genre or universe to another, while Torg was an interesting experiment that failed to find an audience.

If you look closely at the underpinnings of Rifts, you can see its roots in the original D&D system, with its character classes and alignment systems, as the creator, Kevin Siembieda, had a hand in many of the early Judges Guild products. However, Rifts has transcended its roots and now stands as its own system, which has developed into a fantasy/high-tech cross over that still has a strong following all these years later.

Monday, October 16, 2017


This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the growing problem of counterfeit products in the game industry

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Boardgame of the Week Talisman

To complement the RPG of the Week, we will start focusing one post a week on a boardgame. This week's game is Talisman, which first came out in the 1980s and has gone in and out of print ever since. I can best describe Talisman as "D&D on a board", although games like Descent and HeroQest do a better job of replicating the D&D experience. Players start off as a character with certain abilities and traverse the board increasing their strength until they can do battle with the dragon lurking at the center of the board.

Much like the classic dungeon crawls of the era, the outer rim (upper levels) are relatively easy to combat and the adversaries get more dangerous the closer you get to the center of the board. The game can take hours to finish  but players generally stay engrossed until the end (or decide to quit).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

RPG of the Week OG

This week's RPG is one that does not lend itself to campaign play but rather to one-off sessions, so one off that Scott could be induced to run a game of it if someone approached him properly. Og has been around since the late 1990s in one form or another. The Unearthed Edition dates from 2007 and in the game, everyone plays a stereotypical caveman, or at least as stereotypical a caveman as they can given how much we know about cavemen. Incidentally, these cavemen can, if the GM wishes, co-exist with dinosaurs. Roll with it.

The key thing to remember about Og is the words. Remember how your parents told you to "Use your words" when you were young? Here, you have a maximum of 18 of them and must communicate your actions and wishes to other players using only your known words, such as "You", "Me", "Hairy" and "Bang" and gestures. You may describe what you are doing to the GM using your regular vocabulary but will get penalized should you use that same vocabulary with your fellow players.

Monday, October 9, 2017


This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the concepts of heruistics and how they affect purchasing in the game and comic industry.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

RPG of the Week: Dungeon Crawl Classics

Much like Pathfinder and Castles and Crusades, Dungeon Crawl Classics started life as a series of adventures created under D&D 3.0's Open Gaming License. Like the other two, the adventures proved popular enough that Goodman Games is one of the few companies remaining from the 3.0/3.5 Edition era, still publishing modules for the D&D 5th edition game as well as material for what became its house system Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Similar to Troll Lord Games C&C, Dungeon Crawl Classics opts to use its modified 3.0 edition rules and create adventures that have the feel of 1st edition AD and D adventures, with names reminiscent of the early TSR adventures such as "Beyond the Black Gate" and "The Sea Queen Escapes". 

Monday, October 2, 2017


This week's Rolling for Initiative column looks at the recent announcement by Monolith to only "sell" the Batman Boardgame through Kickstarter.