Online Gaming #Board Games #RPG #TTRPG #gaming

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This is a short one. I really love that there’s technology available for people to play long-distance. It allows you to reconnect with friends or make new ones. It also proved very useful in the pandemic. We all know these things, but they just don’t matter to me. I hate online gaming.

Gaming is a social affair. It’s about sitting around a table, eating pizza, drinking Mountain Dew, and rolling a physical set of dice. I’ve done it online, and at times it was better than nothing, but only barely. I’m forced to do it again this weekend, as a player in my new home game will be dialing in from out of state. Our first session was about a month ago, and I don’t want to put this one off any further, but I just don’t like it. On the other hand, I like having online hangouts with friends. Perhaps the difference is that I grew up with a telephone that allowed for (quasi-)hanging out when not in person, but gaming has always in person. 

Whatever the reason, it’s just how I feel. I don’t expect you to feel the same way. It’s not an objective truth, so as with all things, YMMV. 

And that was your purely destructive post for the day.

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Happy birthday, Alissa. R.I.P.

Demons! #BoardGame #RPG #TTRPG #StPatricksDay #StPat

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“#RPG” and “#TTRPG” aren’t appropriate hashtags for this post, but screw it. This is about a board game that had great appeal among the 1st Edition D&D folk. Last weekend, I received a copy of a board game purchased on eBay. The game is called Demons.

As you can see, it’s not in mint condition, but considering this was a board game from the 70s that was probably sitting in an attic for decades, this is in remarkably good shape. Going into the purchase I was told that only a single chip was missing, but there are enough blank chips that I could reproduce it if needed.

I bought this game in tandem with the original Dungeon. If, when I mention Dungeon, you think about a box set twice this size with a hard map, then you’re not thinking old school enough. No, the copy I bought with Demons was the one from 1975 (though I purchased it around 1978 or 1979).

Back to Demons. I remember my older brother and uncle ruining this game for me by defacing the instruction manual with rules about how the characters would have to masturbate in a corner if they lost a fight. Juvenile garbage like that. Remember, just a few years later, the Satanic Panic hit me hard. That didn’t occur in a vacuum.

Now, this is clearly a trip down memory lane for me, but let’s not come away from this post without a lesson. Way back when, I was pontificating on how overpriced online sales have become. The reason is that too many of us are willing to pay unreasonable prices in order to relieve simpler times. With a little patience, you can generate that same reward for 1/3 the price. The first copy of Demons I saw on eBay was being sold for $39.99 plus $23.00 shipping. I explained to the guy that I didn’t think it was worth nearly that much, and the insane shipping cost was obviously a way to charge even more for it. I told him to lower the price to $7.00 so that I could pay a total of $30 for it. I thought that was fair. He rejected the offer, and as you can see, the dipshit is still sitting on it.

“30% off”? Seriously, who falls for that bullshit?

I moved on and found this copy for which I paid $26.99 with an extra $5.00 for shipping. He has money; I have my childhood. Everyone wins except the dipshit, and all we needed was just a little patience.

I think I’m going to mail these guys a check for $103.20. The subscriptions are cheaper if you commit for a longer time. At last I’m becoming a crafty consumer.

Aside: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Patience is a virtue.

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Even More Gems Dug up While Unpacking @Luddite_Vic @Erik_Nowak @atomicovermind @Digitalculture0 #DnD #RPG #4e #1e #ADnD #TTRPG #StarWars #Rokugan #FateRPG #LFR #DARPG #WotC

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A couple of days ago, I posted about some things I found while continuing to unpack. One thing I found deserves its own post: the program for our first synDCon gaming convention (2010). When we decided we were going to put on a convention, we had a meeting of at least 20 people at the Cracker Barrel in Chantilly, Virginia. This took place after one of our Living Forgotten Realms game days at the now defunct Game Parlor. Only seven people decided to come on board as owners, with two quickly moving to Arizona before we could even get started, and then two others flaking out. It was basically Vic, Cassandra, and I doing everything.

Front Cover

The cover art and Gamers’ Syndicate logo were both designed and illustrated by Erik_Nowak, and he also designed this program.

Welcome Statement

I remember a meeting when there were just five of us. We had to decide who would be the number one person: the Convention Coordinator. I didn’t volunteer because I didn’t want to be too pushy, but no one else wanted to do it. This was typically unnecessary nerd angst on all our parts, because in the end it didn’t matter. Everyone had to work hard (until they flaked out), and no one was really the boss among us.

Pages 2 and 3

I’m proud of two things. First, look at that first page, and continue to examine the ones that follow. Even when we had seven planned owners, everyone was almost exclusively a 4th Edition D&D player. Nevertheless, our relatively small convention had a ton of variety in what was run. There were card games, board games, RPGs, and miniature war games. Within the RPGs, we had a ton of variety as well, and there were games run specifically for beginners. We also had a “synDCon special,” which was written by Erik and D. Hunter Phillips.

Pages 4 and 5

The second thing of which I’m proud was my idea (<patting myself on the back>). We had staggered slots. Instead of the typical 8am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, 7pm-11pm schedule for RPG games, we added in slots at 10am-2pm and 3pm-7pm as well. Again, for a small con, the fact that this worked out so well was remarkable. Many people took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in, try our Dungeon Delves for a couple of hours, sit in on a seminar or author book reading, or try new systems at the beginners’ tables. Another great idea of mine was to allow only 5 seats per game in presale despite tables seating 6 players. This made it far easier to sit players that didn’t preregister or wanted to change tables. No one had a problem with it, but a lot of people appreciated the flexibility.

Venue Map

This was a nice hotel, and it was conveniently located near a Metro stop (our public rail transportation system). And being who I am, I especially wanted a site in Maryland so that we could register for a federal trademark if it ever came to that. 🙂

Pages 8 and 9

Okay, yes, we definitely emphasized Living Forgotten Realms, but I’m still happy with how much Heroes and Rokugan and Pathfinder Society we had (these are living campaigns for the RPGs Legend of the Five Rings and Pathfinder respectively).

Pages 10 and 11

Note well, though, that there was more going on than the program states. We had a board game room, and open play for both card games and miniature war games. Saturday night, my cousin and I, a.k.a., Wet Paint, performed for a crowd of beer-drinking gamers some hits of the 80s and 90s. That’s when we played together, so our song set came from those decades.

Only Mike and I are Wet Paint. Matt James was an interloper. He’s considered a member of “Trail Mix,” which is anyone that’s ever played with us.

Seriously, for a small, first-time convention, look at how much variety we had. I loved it, and I never saw it with conventions this small. We also had seminars featuring authors and game designers. Being in the DC area, we actually knew a lot of those people, so it was relatively easy to get them here. This, in turn, allowed us to do this . . . .

Pages 12 and 13

We received a small amount of support from most of these companies, and others were actually present. Our prize for the first person to buy a convention badge was a ticket to GenCon. GenCon gave those away to conventions all the time; no inside track was necessary. However, we also had, for example, a member of Green Ronin participate in a seminar and run the (then-new) Dragon Age RPG, and Rob Hobart (AEG), the head of Heroes of Rokugan, ran a seminar and (I think) a few games.

I touched up this image of the back cover to delete some handwriting. Pay no attention to the fields of ecru.

We chose a great venue, and synDCon 2010 was a four-day convention. Yep, four days. Just like the big guys. Monday was a holiday, and adding that day to the schedule didn’t increase our costs noticeably. Of course, by cost I mean financial cost. My feet were sore (which is why I was sitting for the Wet Paint performance), and I ran, at best, on four hours of sleep a night, with only two on performance night. I’d say it was a success considering that we got hit with a snowstorm right before the convention, scaring off a lot of people.

The following year, we moved synDCon 2011 to mid-April to make sure we’d have better weather, but we had late snow that year. It wasn’t as bad as the previous year, but it still affected attendance. Infuriating. However, synDCon 2011 was an official convention within the circuit of competitive Munchkin published by Steve Jackson Games. In fact, we may have done that for synDCon 2010. I really don’t remember at this point. I just know we had a great time both years. Unfortunately, it’s too hard a thing to run with, for all practical purposes, two people running the entire show and Mother Nature chasing us around with snowstorms. This isn’t to say that there weren’t a lot of other people that did a lot of work. We had a lot of help, with a few people being organizers for Living Forgotten Realms, Pathfinder Society, and Heroes of Rokugan, and we still had decent numbers. However, in the end it falls on the organizers, and there were only two of us. Both Vic and I would rather not have a convention than do one half-assed, so we didn’t have a third one.

Would I like to bring it back? Yes. Do we have the financial means to do so? Probably. Do I see enough people getting on board to make the workload manageable? No. There are very few people I could trust to see it through, and I’m not getting any younger.

I’m proud of what we did.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

The Den . . . errrr, Mancave Is Coming Together #RPG #nerd #game #gaming #DnD #ADnD #FASA #StarTrekRPG

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I told my coworkers that I was using one of the bedrooms in my new home into a den. They started calling it a mancave. Well, if this is a mancave, it’s the nerdiest one ever. I also can’t see it as a “cave” considering it’s on the second floor. It seems more like a man loft.

That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

Last week, I bought a 6′ tall bookshelf that finally allowed me to unpack most of my gaming material. This weekend, I picked up a new desk, which again allows me to unpack office supplies and other things. The room is finally coming together, and I’m fairly well organized.

This den, mancave, or whatever you want to call it is oddly important to me. I’ve lived a rather simple lifestyle up to now. I’m used to a small place, and while this home isn’t what anyone would call large, it’s exceptionally large for me. In fact, it’s too large. It’s great that I have room for everything that I have and much of what I don’t have yet, but I spend 90% of my waking hours in this room. For lack of a better word, it feels cozy, and I’m jamming it with everything I want around me in my free time at home.

Do I have enough screens?

I have a lot of Jeff Dee originals to hang, but so far the only art on the walls is this guy over the desk.

Judging every one of my Google searches.

My cousin gave me a magazine rack. I asked, “What am I? 108 years old?” But I had just the use for it.

Though I may never read them again, I like having them.

Seriously. This is a mancave?

Almost one shelf per edition of D&D.

I have tons of other books not related to gaming, but the second bookshelf hasn’t even been put together. On the side of this bookshelf, I hung some memorabilia.

Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

As far as conventions go, the badges are from All-Star Comic Con 2018, GenCon 2011, synDCon I and II, and Winter Fantasy 2020 & 2022. And then there’s something on top of that bookshelf.

Okay, maybe it’s a mancave after all, but just barely.

The one thing that won’t fit are my musical instruments. I’m keeping them downstairs. That’s probably for the best. It’s a townhome, and the neighbors probably wouldn’t appreciate any noise being upstairs near their bedrooms.

Make no mistake about it: My keyboard playing is properly defined as “noise.”

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Hybrid Creatures @WinterFantasy @mike_amer #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #WinterFantasy

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I was at Winter Vantasy/Fantasy these past few days. As I’ve mentioned, I go there to hang out with friends, not to game. I wound up playing two games. One was run by Mike.

That owlbear ass got me thinking about hybrid creatures, which led me to this video. It’s not … the best narrated video — it’s a bit annoying that one of the first things said contradicts the title of the video — but it’ll do.

I was going to post a video about Baalshamin, but the only ones I could find were depressing.

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Wordle and Social Media Vigilantism @jasonmflow #Facebook #SocialMedia #Wordle #DontBeADick

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Warning: Serious post.

The Facebook police are often on the wrong side of the “law,” but their attitude is no worse than Facebook users who themselves try to police the environment. I wrote about this before. TL;DR, me announcing that I’m leaving a Facebook group is no worse than you telling me where you’re going on vacation next month. At least in my case, I may be helping other people, whether administrators of the group or new members who are trying to figure out whether this group is for them. Your post is just a self-aggrandizing brag.

But that’s okay. Announcing to the world where you’re going on vacation next month is what social media has always been for, so type away. If I don’t care, I’ll either ignore your post or unfriend/block you. (I’m an adult, so of course I’ll probably just ignore your post.)

So, why am I bringing this up? Because of Wordle. The new cool thing to do is to shit on anyone that posts their Wordle results to their social media stream. I get it. You don’t give a fuck about Wordle.

Something’s not right here.

Do you know what I don’t give a fuck about? I don’t give a fuck that you don’t give a fuck about Wordle.

Fixed it.

Do you see how that works?

Actually, I wouldn’t be writing this post if I didn’t care about what you care about.

The fact that I’m not quite dead inside allows me to take joy in silly things. It’s a shame you’ve lost that, but that’s fine. I don’t fault you for it. I fault you for expecting everyone else to follow you to your grave. If you don’t like Wordle, too bad. We’re all going to keep posting our scores, and there’s nothing wrong with that, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN FOR!!!

Your mentality is that of an edition warrior. Embarrassing, isn’t it?

Something Else?

I think there’s something else going on here.

I find it fitting that the vigilantes are portrayed by the least favorite regular Star Trek character in franchise history.

This guy gets it.

There were go. Portraying the “victim” as Homer Simpson is self-deprecating, self-aware, and fun in and of itself. Many of you aren’t confident enough in yourselves to play, but unlike this guy, you can’t handle being reminded of it. Telling the rest of the world that they can’t have fun simply because you have issues seems to be in chic right now, but when you do it, you out yourselves for what you are.

While it’d be easy to ignore this as just bitching about a game, it’s a symptom of a larger societal issue in play, which is more easily addressed by dealing with trivial matters like a game. You can’t engage in a logical fallacy and say, “Oh, you want to post about Wordle? So I guess you want to murder babies, huh?” There’s no connection to those two things, so you have to address the point head on without logically fallacious distractions. Hence, this post.

You admit you’d probably be like this window.

Some of you that aren’t so insecure are still behaving in the same way. Much like the confusion some have over the definition of free speech, you see to misunderstand the purpose of social media. You think it should be a free landscape to do as you choose, and for others also to do as you choose. As soon as someone says something you disagree with, has fun in a way you don’t think is fun, etc., suddenly they’re abusers, bullies, criminals, social media vandals or whatever applies. Sorry, not sorry, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If you insist on announcing whether you think storms are scary or fun, then we’ll post our stupid shit too. Again, you can just ignore us or you can throw a temper tantrum and block 75% of your friends list. We won’t miss you.

Well . . . .

Actually, we will miss you, because Wordle (or whatever the trend of the day is) is a small part of everyone’s total online presence, and we wouldn’t all be connections with one another if there weren’t more to like than to hate in each other’s streams. Most people have at least something to offer me, so I wouldn’t want that to disappear. This is why I suggest you eschew the temper tantrum and just ignore the things that don’t interest you (blocking keywords where possible, such as on Twitter). Even better, join in the fun. If you continue to complain about it, well, that’s what social media has always been for too. I couldn’t stop you if I wanted to. But be honest with yourself: If you’re not being insecure, you’re just being a selfish asshole. It has to be one of those two things, because there’s no other reason to complain about other people having fun and announcing it from their own account. Keep it up, and we’ll start posting our Lewdle and Sweardle scores as well.

Seriously, they aren’t going to stop. It’d be easier not to resist.

But you haters may be in luck. The game may soon be ruined.

Fucking corporations and their … corporatizing and … corporative … corporationy … corporations.

For those of you that are not haters but are gamers, here’s a related puzzle that turns out to be a perverse version of a mimic.

This is sure to inflame all players.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must finish packing for Winter Vantasy tomorrow so I can go play my favorite nerd game from childhood.

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Travel Gods @WinterFantasy #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Ganesha #India #WinterFantasy

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Travels GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

This week is Winter Vantasty/Fantasy, so I needed to come up with something for Mythology Monday that was D&D (or at least RPG) appropriate, but I’ve done a lot of that.

Sexy nerd
I searched for a photo of a sexy nerd, and this is what came up.

Instead, here’s a list of travel deities that should help us on our trek over the Appalachian Mountains on our way to the Arctic Circle (Ft. Wayne, Indiana): Travel Deities: Meet the Gods, Goddesses, and Patron Saints of Travel.

“But Rob, I don’t wanna read!”

Okay, hippy; here’s a video on Ganesha, a sort of jack-of-all-trades among gods, resulting in his inevitable designation as a protector of travelers.

I was going to post a video about Baalshamin, but the only ones I could find were depressing.

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#GenCon Indy, 2013! #gaming #games #RPG #TDA CC: @Luddite_Vic

For the first time, I’m going to GenCon and not working for Baldman Games. (You should work for them if you like Dungeons & Dragons. They give great rewards for running games.) I’m just going to play (though I’m running four slots). I’m honestly not sure how much gaming I’ll want to do. I might get bored and do something else. In any case, like all the other con-goers, I sat there at my computer just waiting for the countdown clock to strike zero at noon. I was lucky enough to be assigned #738 in the queue. Anything under 1,000 is lucky as all hell, and as a result, I got everything I wanted. This includes two puzzle-oriented True Dungeon adventures and a few role-playing games, none of which I’ve ever before played. Isn’t that what GenCon is supposed to be about: Trying new games? That’s my philosophy. I bought an extra ticket for each of the True Dungeon adventures, so I can help out a friend get into the game.

My current GenCon schedule is below. I have absolutely no complaints.

Wednesday: Fate Core (RPG1345241) at 8pm

Thursday: Dungeon World (RPG1341359) at 1pm, then the One Ring (RPG1343873) at 8pm.

Friday: True Dungeon (Lycan’s Afoot, TDA1348116) at 9:37am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343708) and 7pm (RPG1343710).

Saturday: True Dungeon (Golembane, TDA1348648) at 9:39am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343709) and 7pm (RPG1343711).

Sunday: A seminar on game design (SEM1346700) at 10am, then Far Trek RPG (RPG1342003) at noon.

This schedule lets me sleep in for the most part, and gives me plenty of time to roam the halls and keep myself fed. Let me know if you’re in any of my games.

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#TabletopDay! @slyflourish @rosamoonshadow @nullzone42 #fluxx #ascension #dungeon #cah

table-top-logoYesterday was Table Top Day, and it didn’t disappoint. For one, my hosts were Mike and Michelle Shea (aka @slyflourish and @RosaMoonshadow respectively), who have both earned the title of Gamer Extraordinaire. I also played with Jorge, someone I’d never met before (always a plus in gaming) as well as familiar friends, Nate (@nullzone42) and John (not on Twitter).

For me, the company you keep is always more important than the games you play, but for the games themselves, I played the newest version of one of my favorite games from childhood, Dungeon!, and one of my favorite relatively new games, Cards Against Humanity. I usually lose the latter because I’m completely immersed in the humor of the game, whereas it often offends everyone else’s sensibilities eventually. With offended people judging my outrageous plays, it’s hard to win that game. Still, I tied for first place against Michelle. Dungeon involved a character death, and a series of ridiculous rolls that resulted in a ridiculous (but fun!) showing.

More importantly, I played three games I’d never played before: Ascension, Fluxx (twice!), and Pandemic. Pandemic is a cooperative game, and we lost. It’s well-balanced, and you’re always just one step ahead of failure, not knowing whether you’ll win. In an apocalyptic scenario, that’s exactly how you’d expect a real world scenario to play out.

I played Fluxx twice, winning the first and losing the second (to Mike). If you haven’t played it, you need to play it. It’s fun. It’s a card game by Looney Labs  in which the rules themselves constantly change. The second game was themed around Monty Python, so that really played to my interests.

Ascension was interesting, but it’s not a game I’d have to play again. I could play it and enjoy it, so feel free to invite me to any games, but there are better games for me. Mike scored an 86 (IIRC), and Nate and I tied at 66, so surprisingly I didn’t do poorly for a first timer, but I wasn’t much of a threat for winning. In fact, for all I know, I miscalculated my score, so I could easily have come in third.

Overall, a Saturday playing games with good people, some of whom I had never met before, and playing games, some of which I’ve never played before, is about as ideal a situation as any gamer can have. Mission accomplished.

Thanks for hosting, Mike and Michelle!

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Internet Scam Alert: Most “Kickstarter” Projects Just Useless Crap (via @theOnion)

Sadly, at times, this is the truth. Kickstarter has a tendency to remove risk from the process of business, and that encourages people to do projects half-assed.

In the end, I suspect Kickstarter will implode. After getting burned enough times, people will contribute only to projects put forth by well-established companies. This might turn out to be just as tragic. First, I’d like to see Kickstarter be used as a way for the new guy with no funds to be given his shot. Unfortunately, there’s no way to distinguish those guys from the people who just don’t want to spend their own money and aren’t really in need of that break, so that’s a pipe dream. Second, it’s unethical for large, well-established companies to take start-up capital from people who aren’t given an ownership interest in the company, and it’s just as unethical for small, well-established companies to do the same unless the backers are given very good value for their contributions. (I won’t call them investments unless an ownership interest is attached.) Unless Kickstarter starts enforcing these rules, this is also a pipe dream.

Kickstarter should start scrutinizing which projects it allows. Until they start, I won’t give them another look.

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