Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Board Gaming Fun - Fortune and Glory

Let me see. You want me to play a game where our heroes trot across the globe searching for treasures while all the while dodging Nazis, the Mob, and other perils on a mission to stop global domination?

Hell Yeah!

Fortune and Glory is a new game from local (Seattle area) guys Flying Frog. Themed in the age of pulp adventure, this game strays from the usual formula of heroes going through a single adventure and instead approaches the genre from a much more global (literally) perspective.

Each player controls a single hero and works with other players to bounce back and forth across the globe to take on various adventures at different locations. Each adventure is a short form arranged as a series of tests made to determine success or failure. There are some cool mechanics in the game that add an element of gambling as you are allowed to push your luck and skills to complete an adventure before it gets snatched out from under your by the game's NPC nemesis. The consequences of pushing your limits can result in you losing out on the potential glory that a completed adventure can win you.The mechanics are pretty simple utilizing stats, equipment, character traits and followers to score successes.

All the time the heroes are chasing treasures, so too are the Nazis and mobsters and these villains turn up at all the wrong places all of the time. As if that weren't bad enough, they are gallivanting around in their Zepplin base deploying willy nilly and continuously cluttering the board with more and more of their villainy, making it increasingly difficult to partake in the simple joy of dodging ancient evil, traps and denizens for the sake guessed it...Fortune and Glory!

I very much enjoyed this game. It is no secret that I am a fan of the Pulp genre and this board game did not leave me hanging unless it was off the proverbial cliff. The cooperative play aspect is appealing though I understand it can be played with the added complication of a traitor. With plenty of characters to play and a never-ending variety of combinations of epithet and location (how adventures are generated) it promises to never get boring.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Go At Armada

Let The Wookiee Win

Yesterday I had a chance to try out the new Star Wars Armada game. I have missed out on most of the "clicky" miniatures games but the subject of this one was too cool to not try. I have always wanted to play fleet battles in the Star Wars universe. While this is not the first game to be made for this or the only to have done it all along, it is the first one that I have heard my local gamers get excited about.

My opponent, who has a few games under his belt, let me choose Empire or Rebel, I decided to go with a Victory star destroyer and several squads of TIE Fighters. Before we played, he gave me a run down on the rules and explained all the components and indulged my questions about how the theme of the universe and the ships being portrayed had been translated into rules.

I think it is worth noting that, as a Star Wars fan, I am mostly satisfied with the rules interpretations of the universe and the ships so far. It is a big deal that the ships in the game are able, within the rules, to perform as expected from the fiction. X-wings fight like X-wings and TIEs like TIEs. 

The fight itself was a pretty straight forward head to head. Two small Rebel ships and X-wings versus my own Victory and TIEs. The learning curve was minimal. The game is so well put together with everything clearly laid out and with everything having its own piece when it needs to. Orders, stats, even measuring are optimized (the movement tool is inspired). 

What this meant is that in no time I was barreling forward with my star destroyer, making a few course corrections and maneuvering my fighters around to harass the Rebel ships and engage their fighters. Combat is neat and clean and I never found myself at a loss for figuring out where I stood. 

There were a few points that took some getting used to but these mostly centered around the range bands and the special dice for these bands as well as getting used to plotting command in advance and working through those. I don't think I made enough use of the ability to hold orders for a later time but I also do not feel I had too many situations come up in this learning game where this was needed.

By the end of the game I was a convert. I had won, but just barely and only technically speaking. The game ran out of turns with me in a leading position but it was clear that my capital ship was a wreck and the two fresh fighter squadrons would be able to finish me with their next round of bombing runs.

Now I just bide my time and let the inventory of available models flesh out a bit before diving in. I know my budget for this game will be limited, even if the components are pretty reasonably priced, and I do not want to make an early purchase that I will regret when something new comes out. A little patience never hurts and I doubt my frugal hesitation will hurt the prospects of this game with its juggernaut appeal.

Take care,


Friday, March 13, 2015

Life is a Dungeon

Things I Learned About Life by Playing Dungeons and Dragons

Encounters. Life is full of them. Some are lame, some are cool, some are mind blowing but all of them help us earn X.P. and grow as a character (person). Treasure the great encounters of your life, but value each and every one.

Monsters. There will always be monsters. Real life monsters seldom want to eat your soul, but some of them can be just as harmful. Be brave in the face of them and know when to stand up and fight and when retreat is warranted. Monsters do not always require combat to defeat and sometimes the best way is not the simple way.

Secrets Door and Shortcuts. While these exist, they are the exception, not the rule. Nothing ruins a great game more than stopping every ten feet to check for hidden things. These things are great when they come around but it's important to experience the journey to its fullest whenever you can and use secret doors sparingly.

Traps. Like secret doors and shortcuts, traps happen but they are also the exception not the rule. Looking for traps everywhere can really lead to a serious mistrust of everything and missed opportunities. Most door aren't concealing needle traps in their locks and that rough floor is sometimes just a rough floor and not a deadly creation bent on ending your existence.

Parties. Life is always better with trusted friends and companions. Whether friends or family, make sure to keep them close and do not be afraid to reach out to them for help. Nobody gets throug hthe dungeon by themselves. Solo play sucks.

Treasure. Treasure is awesome. Getting stuff is always nice but it's just stuff. Sometimes the shiniest pieces isn't the most important piece. The Hand of Vecna is just a moldy Mummy's Hand but it;s super cool. 

Experience. Everything in life can teach you something. The small lessons often lead to big things as much as a single life changing event. Take them all in. Make sure you learn. And always remember that boiling an ant hill is cheating.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Grimtooth is Back!

Alright gamers, listen up!

You old school folks out there remember Grimtooth - that evil troll that made GM's far too lethal for their own good and gave us all nightmares about losing our favorite characters in the most despicable and horrifying ways. Well, he's back in a new Kickstarter bringing all the original works together in one place.

I've already jumped on board to support this project and I know at least few of you who want, dare I say NEED, this book.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sculpting the Mutant Future

I have always been a big fan of fantastic apocalyptic futures. From Gamma World, to Aftermath, to Fallout I love the concepts of the wholly unrealistic blasted futures with their mutants and warlords and gangs. Be it Road Warrior or Metal Storm, you cannot go wrong with spikes, freaky critters and mohawks. It is in this spirit that I have started sculpting a new range of miniatures.

A recently got back some test casts of the first two sets I finished and put some paint to them ASAP. This is saying something as I am well known for hating to paint. 

The first pack is a collections of five relatively mundane mutants (is that a thing?). While they are twisted and deformed, they are not too out there. I painted one in my most hated of mutations to randomly roll for a character - Brightly Colored Skin! This pack depicts a sort of wasteland shamaness and several mutant fighters.

The second set is made up of more strange denizens of the mutant wastelands. Two freakish brutes equipped with cybernetics along with a poor fellow with crustacean or insectoid mutations and a big-headed, dwarfed, perhaps psionic fellow complete this set. 

These should be out later in 2015 through my partnership with I'll make an announcement when the actual release happens for those who are interested in picking them up for their games.


Holiday Crafts

One thing I truly enjoy is making gifts for the holidays. While some may see it as cheap, I see it as a way to create something really special and unique. Even if i am inspired by somebody else's work, I am still creating something for my friends. This year was no different.

I made a couple of ornaments for our good family friends who are, like all good and kind-hearted people, Star Wars fans.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hey all,

So, things have ground to a veritable halt here on the ol' ISLP. This has been due to many factors but the overall result has been a slow down in content suitable for this blog.

Sculpting has become my main hobby outlet and, while I can show stuff off here, I have been communicating most of that work through direct emails and a few more focused groups out there. I do want to show off some of that stuff here as I am sure there are a lot of you who have read for ages who wonder how that is going for me.

Family has been occupying a lot more of my time as well. This is a good thing, but it does mean far less time to idle away on endless hobby projects and rulers bashing for RPGs and such. I cannot complain about this at all and in some ways the family time has overlapped with gamer time but in respect to playing and sharing the hobby with my kiddos.

Growing my little miniatures business still occupies a huge amount of my time. Thinking, planning, re-planning, scrapping plans and then coming up with new ones is a constant dance of frustration and inspirations. I have so much stuff piled up in my mind and it's all a great game trying to get it out into the world and into the hands of the folks that make this hobby so awesome.

Anyhow, I am well and things are good, but just not a lot to report here.

Take care,

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