Friday, 23 November 2012

Black Friday Cyber Thanksgiving and all that

Black Friday?  That's something to do with commemorating stock market crashes, right?  Is it to do with that fellow in dark make-up that hangs around with Sinterclaus?   Not be confused with Ash Wednesday - when we all have to take up smoking.

I live on an island where these absurdities occur later ... around Boxing Day or New Year's or on Bank Holidays (imagine people in suits with calculators and party hats).  Naturally, I forget that Thanksgiving for the Americans is almost like Christmas for us, except that they need Christmas as well. But no-one talks about Christmas because its really "Happy Holidays" for everyone - but maybe that's because no-one can spell Hannuka (sp?).  Of course, I'm happy to let them have their Tea Parties and fireworks in July (many fireworks keep going off here at the moment because of Diwalli the Festival of Light in the middle of Winter - although it's just as likely that these chinese explosives are cheap after Bonfire Night).  In the UK we have pumpkins and turkeys now.  Turkey replaced the goose at  Christmas - a long tradition of eating "big birds" continues (cue Sesame St and Romney gag). Geese are greasy to eat apparently, goose fat is used by swimmers crossing the English Channel, but we have the Channel Tunnel now.  I'm a vegetarian so I eat strange stuff like Quorn meat substitutes - when in fact I want to be a Viking Henry VIII tearing away at a massive drumstick or leg of beast.  I have yet to find a tofu equivalent. Mother always disapproved of my historical re-enactment table manners.

I'm not sure what I was going to say apart from giving thanks for mazes and Quorn. Okay, the Quorn is just me, but mazes, dungeons and monster filled tunnels need to be celebrated.  Remember that gaming and shopping is not just for Christmas/Thanksgiving/Diwalli/Eid/Holidays - it's for the whole year!  And remember that where religion has failed that Capitalism still provides!

Paizo Black Friday Sale

Drunken Goblin Sales on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG
OBS related:
Noble Knight Games are running some tiny reductions for Autumn, hmm, not exactly sales-crazy though.

It might take a while to find the RPGs in this lot, but hey, watches, kettles and random books are also fun: Sale deals on Amazon co uk today-Black Friday at Amazon US

Take a look at your favourite brand's home sites - because they're all suckers for sales at this time of year. ;)

Forget the relatives and loved ones, treat yourself. :D

How many days left 'til Easter...?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

DQ2, Dungeons A Solo Adventure, Judges Guild sale

My copy of Destiny Quest 2 The Heart of Fire arrived! Although I'm not sure that I'm ready to take on the shear vastness of solo adventuring in this super dense large paperback with colour area maps.
Destiny Quest 2

Thinner, but also brimming with solo gaming vastness is Shane (QUERP/Chronicles of Arax) Garvey's matrix-based (or card - you choose) questing game: Dungeons - A Solo Adventure.  This is a refreshing, minimal props, old school simplified one person play RPG packed with replayability and simple enough rules for customisation/house ruling.  This is the stuff of power cuts and rainy days in - so print a copy off and put it on the shelf in preparation for such an event.  It's also a game which might be ideal to give to a child to keep them absorbed for a few hours, without taking over a whole dining table.  Much like with Fightng Fantasy Gamebooks, or text based computer games or boardgames like MB HeroQuest there is a succinctity here (I.e. straightforward quests, recognisable enemies like orcs etc.) which has a charm that is unfettered by complex plots of Tolkienesque language. I'd add a load of extra illustrations but at $2 this is really great stuff and feeds the imagination.

Totally random ... just saw this on Facebook, Judges Guild (a forge of many 70s and early 80s accessories) have dropped some of their prices to $3 and below for Christmas.  At those prices I'd be tempted to dismiss EBay and it's smelly second hand originals for a while. ;)

Select products have been reduced: Judges Guild on RPGNow.

Sunday, 11 November 2012 20% off in November 2012 and DWD Star Frontiers

Quick, quick, we've burnt Guy Fawkes - time to get on with the rest of November!

Here's a magic code for you to whisper to the robot cashier over at


Books & eBooks from 20% off- Enter code NOVBOOKS12 - Save up to $25

The code blerb says "US site only" - which is confusing because as a British customer I've just had no trouble getting a reduction in my shopping cart. Valid until 30th Nov.

Whilst checking this code out, I saw this in the top ten sellers in the Games section:

"Star Frontiers - a classic science fiction role-playing game from the 80's that should have persisted today. Here it is for your gaming pleasure!""

I've been aware of some harmless free downloads online at for some time, but this seems like a very bold move.  I'm hoping that DWD have full rights to the game mechanics and art.  Naturally, I'm assuming here that the text is different (at least the downloads I've seen in the past were like that)  I recommend having a browse about the web before you buy this, also if you're really interested in procuring a piece of TSR RPG history, have a look on Ebay or other second-hand stores - the intact box set is lots of fun to delve through.

Some thoughts regarding the original Star Frontiers:

After discovering that the Space Opera RPG was way more like Traveller than I had first assumed. apart from 15mm figure games like Laserburn, Star Frontiers is still looking like one of the earliest games to embrace a more cinematic approach to sci-fi, i.e. Star Wars or BattleStar Galactica, where everyone is packing a sidearm with city maps, hover car chases, outdoor location maps, and kill-first-ask-questions-later creatures that wouldn't be far out of place in Gamma World.  It's interesting that the Star Frontiers writers only included starship combat in the following set, Knight Hawks.  Compare this to the Traveller starter rules (first 4 books) which cover the very basics of character generation, combat, space combat, skills, world gen, vehicles, interstellar trade, but did so with the broadest brush strokes (refined and expanded in later booklets).  If you wanted, Traveller could be very "sandbox" in play.  Star Frontiers was very much played specific to a dramatically set scene: -alien terrorists walk into the bar / you've crashed - survive / you're being chased by something big and vicious / out of control city monorail - now deal with it!  In fact the similarities between the original Star Frontiers set and Gang Busters are notable - there's press-out character and vehicle counters, city floor-plan, location driven adventures (you are here - place counter on map) - although Star Frontiers does have an exploratory hex-crawl in it's introductory module -which was not uncommon in some Traveller adventures as well.

[-- Random thoughts end --]

I seem to have a terrible cold - possibly caught off some late night geomorph designing ...

Happy Shopping!

And remember, if you can't afford it: do what I do, buy it for yourself then thrust it upon a loved one to give you for Christmas (demanding the full retail price, of course). ;)

Friday, 9 November 2012

National Game Design Month and Movember

I clearly don't read enough posts closely.  Whenever I see the phrase "imitative" or "project" in relation to game design I usually assume that it's just another kickstarter (probably with zombies in) and move on, but National Game Design Month is more about the creative art of game writing.  And boy, if ever there was an industry where every other participant was also a creator-writer, it's the RPG tabletop games community! Cthulhu bless us all. We are masters of our entertainment!  We can create and destroy our own worlds, forge new dice systems, create card decks and so forth.

I like the idea of that "friendly nudge" to help finish those dream projects. 

It's also Movember.  So feel free to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men's health and prostate cancer.  (My partner has forbidden me from growing a moustache)

Design a game or grow a moustache?   You decide.
Doing both might be perilous. 

I plan to take naps in most of my free time in November.  We all do our little bit. ;)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief - Roleplayers Chronicle RPGs for charity bundle

Hurricane Sandy Relief - Roleplayers Chronicle RPGs for charity bundle

This $20 bundle contains all sorts of RPGs and accessories with the proceeds on the purchase price going to the American Red Cross to provide relief aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Over 40 products at the last count - over $400 in total RRP! As charity packs go, this is astonstishingly good value (and a sign of magnanimous indie publisher generosity)  If I remember right, it's good idea to donate now but download everything at a later - just to be nice to your web servers. ;)  At least that's what I'll be doing.

RC news entry