Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Classic not camp! +d12s: Thousand Suns RPG (Grognardia Games)

Thousand Suns: Rulebook
from Grognardia Games

PDF and hardcopy on DriveThru
(and RPGNow)
My printed copy has arrived! It's C-format hardback - which is a really portable size - looks incredibly like a school book sci-fi text. Also got the PDF on the iPad. (Well worth the $30)

Thousand Suns in PDF and handy sized hardback format
[ Edit: 9Feb12 Photo added]

At the moment I'm mainly buying games to read -and what a great read! Well fleshed out background ideas based on the classic 50s-70s "Imperial" theme, whilst providing a vast open setting to develop and explore. Very informed, with literary quotes scattered throughout.

Strangely enough, I haven't read half enough books from that period, and my concept of "Space Opera" was more based on Star Wars, so it's refreshing that the game is presented as a "straight" setting, without the camp Flash Gordon associations, so prevalent in some retro-sci-fi games.

Given the choice between playing this and my GDW Traveller, I would choose this, partly because the fast play d12 mechanics provide a broader probability range with more opportunities for modification (see the previous review for a brief description of the d12* system) But also because I love the feel of rolling two d12s. ;)
Two shapely
required :)

The presentation is incredibly slick and professional, with a high standard of illustrations, consistent with the classic sci-fi theme, whilst the starships have a plausible clean hi-tech look.

The section on Esperanto took me by surprise! :) This is an optional extra will entertain dedicated fans lovers of the genre.

James Maliszewski is a master of game and gaming culture observation (I'm a fan of his Grognardia blog). It's great to see those skills channelled into this game.

It's also a "complete" system. This rulebook is pretty much all you need.

If you're curious... just go for it.

(Previous post on Thousand Suns)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

D&D5 What *is* D&D? And 20% Off on DriveThru in January

Some yummy deals have been transmitted to my mail box. :)

But first .... I must ... resist ... commenting ...on ... a possible fifth edition of D&D ...
... dammit ... blah ... I could barely get past the first paragraph without drawing all my own conclusions.
Our mission is to ensure that D&D enters its next 40 years as a vibrant, growing, and exciting game. By listening to the needs of the D&D community, we can meet this goal. ... We’ve listened to both praise and criticism from all D&D fans, regardless of their edition of choice*, and we’ll continue to do so.
*Do they mean players of 3e, 3.5e, 4e and the new edition, or is this an acknowledgement of a broader fan base - the players of the vintage flavours of D&D? 
Maybe D&D4 will become the Vista of the D&D operating systems, because this seems way too early to be bringing out a whole new edition (corporate cynicism aside).  Like with software, as customers, we need to know that that a line will be supported.

I came to the D&D Minis booster packs pretty late in the day, only to have my collecting ambitions killed dead within months of starting because the line was redesigned and my local shop stopped importing them.  Oh well, so much for my end-of-week mystery treats.

For the record, I seriously doubt that Wizards are interested in a return to a less figure-orientated, pen, paper and erasers or a less combat focussed game.  With players bringing tablets to the table, Wizards must be feeling pretty confident in backing an online horse.*  The dice and the figures have to stay real - it's a game with playing pieces - otherwise why bother using such abstract dice based rules (as opposed to a LAN MMORP game with 3rd person animated graphics).  I could very be wrong about this, since D&D seems more and more defined by online group play using chat rooms, Google+ or custom software.  So maybe D&D is defined by "conversational play", or simple positional tactics - like an MSN Chess game with extra stats.

... And we're back to blogging that essay: "The D&D experience vs World of Warcraft - Discuss"

*DnD Insider et al. I miss buying printed copies of Dragon and Dungeon magazine (which is why I enjoyed receiving a stack of Kobold magazines in the post a few months back)

I seem to be mainly a collector these days.  I buy the different systems and mutter to myself about the mechanics and the alienation of loyal gaming cliques, but then I get excited about the art and packaging.  However, I'm not playing enough to know what makes the modern "yoof"-gamer tick.

The thirty-to-forty-somethings hold the bigger wallets, but maybe we're more likely to spend on Ebay or buy the independent titles than to commit to Wizards, or we're happy with a couple of old systems - Tunnels & Trolls, anyone?

I shop online.  I feel a little let down my local "bricks 'n' mortar" shops, that can't even stock the core rules of the D&D, never mind host actual games.  I fear that in the UK, D&D is still fairly underground, or a niche within a niche, with Game Workshop's narrative-less Warhammer ruling the mainstream. On the flipside, it's really easy to buy paints and figures, if you like the GW style.  Fortunately I own a copy of Warhammer Quest, so that I can hold my RPG-fanboy head up high if I ever need to buy extra orcs.

Interestingly, the WHQ experience is pretty close to how I imagine many D&D4 games are played (if the players were using a random dungeon generator -which makes WHQ perfect for solo or small group play), using figures, grids, special moves and not much dialogue, zero role-play.  Naturally WHQ hasn't been supported by GW for donkeys years, as isn't Advanced HeroQuest - it's predecessor.  After all, both games they didn't require collectable "armies".  Both are commonly recognised as gateway games to the green felt and template markers of the Warhammer table.

I think I may have gone off the point somewhat.  ... Something to do with the longevity of supported product lines ... oh well.

Now where was I?  Ooh, yes, tasty deals ....

Special Promotional Code to get 20% Off select products in January on DriveThruRPG


The code to use at checkout is:
Expires: February 12th, 2012.

Stop Press!   Lulu 25% off books

20% off books - Enter code JANBOOKS12 - Save up to $25 - Offer ends 31Jan12

Don't forget that these games can be found on Lulu:

Top seller in Games:
Strands of Power (on Lulu)
Strands of Power

- OSRIC 2.2 -
- Basic Fantasy RPG -
- Epees & Sorcellerie
- Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox
- Tombs and Terrors
- Ruins & Ronin (SnW Wb)
- Starships and Spacemen

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year - Savage Insider 3 (MTE)

Wishing You a Prosperous
& Happy New Year!
May 2012 bring you all your gaming and collecting needs! :)
(Remember, that in these times of austerity, Capitalism needs YOU!)

Savage Insider 3 (MTE)
$0.00 on DriveThru and RPGNow

So maybe one of your first New Year's Resolutions is spend less on RPGs, chocolate or Lego or whatever.

I forgive you.

Perhaps the credit card needs to heal.  I had a debit card that actually died from "fatigue" - it was physically worn out by all the swiping, no really.

So it's only right that one of the first downloads of the year should be a freebie.

Packed with goodness for players of the Savage Worlds RPG system: Savage Insider 3 - magazine from Mystical Throne Enterprises  for nil dollars.

If you can stretch to a whole dollar (a mere handful of shillings in other currencies ;) ) I have to recommend this modern, yet classic, drool worthy, set of geomorphs by Crooked Staff Productions on DTRPG -  The Little Book of Dungeons: Geomorphs

Currently reading:
(apart from slowly giving up on the middle of Gormenghast, and dipping into the AD&D2 Monstrous Manual - a Christmas acquisition...)
Although I'm not playing any Pathfinder or D&D3.5 at the moment I'm having a gentle peruse of a review copy of Random Encounters Remastered from Purple Duck Games.  It's filled with so many different environments ("Eerie Woods, Jungle River, Planar Stronghold, Restless Volcano, Treacherous Mire, and Underworld Battlefield") I'm wondering if one could run a whole campaign on random encounters alone! Nicely done.

Purple Duck have also just published More Random Encounters Remastered  ... which I'm guessing includes even more random encounters. ;)

Happy Em Em Ex Aye-Aye!


Comments closed on this post due to repeated spamming (maybe it's the phrases "Shopping"+"New Year"?)