Monday, May 29, 2017

Munchkin simplified for kids?

Has anyone taken Munchkin and simplified it down for kids?

I don't mean Munchkin Treasure Hunt. I'm not in the market to buy a new game. I mean, the original Munchkin set, stripped down to very fast, very easy to learn rules for kids. Something explainable in, say, one minute tops, without reference to rules sheets.



I've got most of the early Munchkin sets, all the way up to Half-Horse, but I've split off my base set in the hopes of turning it into yet another ESL game. Something fun, easy to learn, and where part of the challenge is telling me what you've doing and the other part is reading the cards so you know which ones to play.

That's one reason I use the earlier edition of Fluxx with my older ESL students - it's a reading challenge combined with a game-play challenge. Plus I can teach it inside of one minute and one turn of play.

But before I do the work to make a game out of Munchkin that uses what's on the cards for some kind of play, I'd like to see if someone else has.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Felltower: Split Party Example

Once again, scheduling conflicts have forced us to postpone game. But the email discussion did come around to what to do with gated locations and groups getting stuck there.

This is a real concern, because some gates are limited access, some locations won't have a trivial gate back, and some locations will be delved into late in a session.

So what happens if the party is split?

What happens if a party ends in a gate-accessed location and can't end back in Stericksburg?

The group in the location must stay there until the delve is completed and they can return to Felltower or Stericksburg. Until then they are occupied and unavailable for use. If another game session comes up in between, with a different mix of players, there are two choices:

- allow the new players to run the PCs who are in the gated zone;

or

- have the players whose PCs are in the gated zone run different PCs until their original PCs are back and available for a delve.

The first solution works best if we're short on players who started the original delve. For example, Has, Hjlamarr, Vryce, Dryst, and Mo travel to Lost City of D'Abo and can't get back. The next session, Hjalmarr's player is MIA but everyone else shows up along with Gale's player. Gale's player runs Hjalmarr for the session.

This solution doesn't work as well when we get more players than delvers. Therefore I prefer to default to the second approach.

In the second approach a detailed example probably helps more.

6/4: Hjalmarr, Has', Wolfgang, and Mo go to the Lost City and end the session there.

On 6/18, we play again and Vryce/Gerry's player, Dryst/Angus's player, and Gale's player are all back and want to play. The players of the PCs in the Lost City need other characters to play with in the meantime.

For places with non-persistent gates, this could mean a given mix of PCs is basically shunted off to adventuring in that area, no reinforcements possible, until they find a way back.

Some gates might allow for PCs to join the group. If that's the case, it's possible to run a split session where the PCs who will be added adventure their way to the gate, cross it, meet up with the other PCs, and then we continue. That might not work out in some cases - a single PC isn't likely to be able to access the depths of the dungeon and get through a gate and reach the group - but if it's easy to do we may do it.

Basically, this means once you start hitting the gates, keep a spare PC on hand! You might need a different paper man to play until we've got the right mix to get your other PC back into play.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A look at the James Bond: 007 RPG

There is an excellent review of James Bond: 007 over on Penetralia:



James Bond: 007

That is still on my list of RPGs to play. Hopefully play, not GM. I don't have the panache to pull this off as a GM, but I have the foolhardiness as a player to try to.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Minis: Stone Golems

These are a pair of Black Tree Design Stone Golems. This is about 5 minutes of total work.







I primed them black, waited 48 hours for the base goop and primer to dry, and then painted them both in five minutes.

What I did was:

- Base coat them black, quickly.

- When that dried, I spent the rest of the five minutes doing this:

- Wet-brush on Lampost (Dark, Dark Grey)

- Wet-brush on Slate (Dark Grey)

- Wet-brush on Charcoal (Moderately Dark Grey)

Waited a minute, then:

- Dry-brush Grey Flannel.

- Dotted the eyes with a toothpick dipped in Metallic Emerald.

They came out darker than I had planned, but they look great so I'm leaving them as-is. Obviously they'll get used in Felltower. I'm debating using them for PC-summoned elementals or just as smaller golems.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

GURPS Lite in the Classroom, Session #7

For the previous session, click this link.

Rules Explanations

None today.

Recap

I did the short recap again.

Play

When we last left the Unknown Soldier, he had knocked out - possibly killed - the hyena-dog. He ran down the stairs. He went down, through one of the doors in the wall interior level, and felt his way down it in the dark. He reached a door and opened it quietly.

Good thing - two men and an orc were in the room (9 or less for an encounter, 1d6-3 min 1 guys, roll a 6). They had lights and he was quiet, so I rolled Per for all three. They all failed badly and continued on their way up.

He went in and then out the way they came. Bad luck - he ran into a straggling orc in a door way. It demanded to know who he was. "I'm (gave player's name here)." The orc said, "The prisoner!" and drew his scimitar. So he closed the door on the orc and got ready to stab him. This orc opened the door and took a sword in the guts for 8 injury. He was wounded but passed his knockdown check. They fought, and twice the orc slashed the Unknown Soldier and wounded him, first for 6 injury and then for 3 more. He's at 4 HP out of 13 HP, so he's at half-Move and Dodge. He managed to stab the orc again for a lot of injury and drop him, probably dead.

He looted a box of food and stuck beef jerky in his mouth and went down the stairs. He found himself where he'd escaped to back in Session #3.

We stopped there.

Notes

That's it for a few weeks. I'm a little concerned that he's got no idea how to get out. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it. He had a few clean chances to get out and has really just explored by running room to room.

Now he's badly wounded, deep in the dungeon, and in an alert fortress. I'm not sure he actually can get out. I have some ideas of ways I can put in front of him, though, so we can move on to more challenging language tasks than "search the crate!" "open the door!" and "go down the stairs!"

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why it matters to me that dungeons aren't random

When I reviewed B3 Palace of the Silver Princess the other day, I highlighted the random monster selection that plagues it. Monsters in rooms they have no reason to be in, monsters generally appearing once per type in the dungeon seemingly to get them all in, etc. Not a lot of sense.

You can explain some of it - there is a curse, some of these could have wandered in, etc. But that you can explain it doesn't really help hold it together sufficiently for my purposes.

I explained why we goofed on the Castle of the Mad Archmage even as we enjoyed it a while back. Again, it was the seeming randomness.

The fights could be fun, the monsters tricky, and the puzzles challenging, but without anything to hang them together it felt flat to me.

I think the reason is clues, logic, and reasoning.

If there is some kind of logic to the adventure, and there are clues of what's ahead (even if subtle, or which require experimentation to find), then you can use your reasoning. You can leverage what you've seen in the past and what you see in front of you to make smart play decisions.

So in B3 you can explain that every monster there is because of Arik and Chaos, and so it should be disordered. But when you hit sensible encounters with a good explanation - folks trapped in the castle, ghosts, Chaos-distorted plants run amok, cultists, guardian statures, rats running loose in the halls, etc. - it makes the ones that don't - beetles in secret rooms, troglodytes just standing around in one room, etc. stand out all the more.

Once you start feeling the logic of the place, and see the clues of what's to come, you can use your reasoning to guess ahead. Sometimes you'll be right. Sometimes you'll be wildly wrong. You'll really be taken off-guard by things that fit but that you didn't plan for or couldn't plan for.

But if there is too much that has no logic, no clues, and is just there for the sake of being there ("Hey, we didn't put in a crab spider, put one in somewhere") then you're back to just guessing. Opening a door is just seeing what's randomly in there. You can't make informed choices because the person who laid out the dungeon didn't. You can't discern a pattern, only make one up on the fly, because it's only a pattern in retrospect. You can't use your player skill and careful play to help out because anything could be behind that door, whether it could have gotten there in the first place or not.

Randomness can still be fun - I still want to take Mirado down into the depths of the Castle of the Mad Archmage again - but when any given move is like clicking any given number in Dungeon Robber, the only choice I'm making is to spin the roulette wheel or not. And that wears on me even it randomly keeps dropping on fun things to do.



As a practical takeaway, I would say this - make sure there is some hint of what's to come. Make sure there is something that holds it together. Make sure the players can correctly guess ahead or see the patterns, if they're paying attention and put their minds to work. If it's all just random you're going to lose some engagement from which good play and good fun can spring.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Bones 3 are on the way

I happened to have a minute at work and flipped open my Kindle and saw my town listed as one of the orders going out today.

When I got home just now, I saw I'd gotten a note from Reaper. Hurrah!

I was right near the end of the 2,000 in the wave. I guess I took too long to lock in my order. But it's on the way now.
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