Saturday, May 22, 2021

Combat Ready! (Toying With an Old Idea)

I have a rotating list of projects that I keep working on in my spare time.  Some are in various stages of completion and will be finished someday.  One idea that seems to pop up most frequently is a simple wargame using those little green Army Men that should be instantly recognizable by most everyone.  I purchased a few sets at the Dollar General and Wal-Mart so I have a pretty sizable collection so far and I have spent around $12.  I thought I was done buying these figures until I went shopping earlier.

When I stumbled across these two packages at the Dollar Tree earlier I immediately thought that it was the perfect representation of what I am aiming for with the Combat Ready! rules.  Each package in the left picture was $1 so for $2 you get 10 dice and 35 figures; a small force of tan and one of green.  That would be perfect for a pick up and play battle system.

Now that I have plenty of material to playtest some rules with there are some things to take into consideration while designing the rules:

1.    I want a simple and satisfying game.  There is no need for page after page of complicated rules concerned with the smallest of details.  Advanced rules can be developed later.  The basic game should be easy to understand and implement.

2.   Simple stats such as Attack, Defense, and Special.  Other rules to consider would be sniper fire, supply drops, air support, getting lost, etc.  

3.    Movement should be done in a simple manner such as a measuring tape.

4.    The focus of the basic game will be on squad to platoon level engagements.  Larger forces tend to complicate game rules.  Maybe they can be covered in an advanced rule section?

5.    Your force will be assembled from what you have available instead of trying to assemble a rare collection of figures.

6.    My goal for the page count of the basic game is 6 to 12 pages.

7.    I know you can find other sets of these figures such as western themed, science fiction, etc. so maybe other genres can also be adapted? 

Just a few ideas to get started...

Monday, May 17, 2021

Baldur's Gate I & II Enhanced Edition PS4

I was browsing the local FTW (For The Win) Games and I discovered something I did not even know existed.  There is a PS4 version of Baldur's Gate I & II!  I played far into Baldur's Gate I and one of my CDs got scratched, lost, or faced some other catastrophe.  My point is that I never finished the game.  I wanted to complete it before moving on to the second one.  I never did move on to the second one.  I had intended to buy these games on Good old Games or some other similar site but then I found this version.

I have just started playing the original Baldur's Gate and I have yet to get very far into the game.  I was a little thrown off by the controls at first because I was used to the old keyboard and mouse.  My son and I persevered and we got the hang of it.  He is enjoying it so I looked for other old D&D games in the PS Store and found some more old favorites.  My next two purchases will most likely be the Planescape and Icewind Dale Enhance Edition and then the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance game.  I have had all of these games  in the past and it will be awesome to have all of them again and introduce my son to them.  There is more than one way to scratch the D&D itch and I am going to take full advantage of these offerings.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

DragonRaid - a Closer Look (Part Four)

This is the final post in this series examining DragonRaid; this post was preceded by part onepart two, and part three   .  This post looks at the secondary material included in the box.

4 sheets of counters are included in the box.   

4 battle grids; 2 square and 2 hex.

1 Battle Worksheet (laminated).
Dice (not inked).
Coupon (a set of inked dice at a discount).
A flyer with a link to a reproduction of the audio cassette originally included.

2 pads of Character Worksheets (for character creation).
1 pad of Character Sheets.

DragonRaid themed note-taking sheets.
1 flyer for The Gryphon Heist.
An ink pen.

I have completed my examination of DragonRaid but I am not finished tinkering with the game.  I am going to go through character creation and try out a game session.  Look for more in the future...

Saturday, May 15, 2021

DragonRaid - a Closer Look (Part Three)

 This post was preceded by part one and part two of this series.

Adventure Guidebooks
The boxed set includes three modules which are labeled as Adventure Guidebooks.  Of course, they serve the same purposes as modules in Dungeons & Dragons.  These adventures should be played in the order pictured to the left as each book is noted as  Adventure One, Two, or Three on their respective title page.  The shortest adventure is 43 pages while the longest one is 77 pages and each one comes with removable resources in the middle such as cue cards, player briefings, maps and even more types of visual aids.

Adventure Master Manual
The Adventure Master Manual is also labeled as a "Leader's Reference" on the cover.  This is the only book in the box to come in a 126 page loose-leaf three hole punched format.  My initial impression is that this book will be referenced at times so it will prevent wear and tear by having it in a binder.  The contents are split into nine sections. Most of the information seems to cover the skills associated with your responsibilities as an Adventure Master and improving your skill in those areas.   Other topics include handling game problems, the allegory of DragonRaid, witnessing to non-Christians, and an index.  At first glance the standout section of interest seems to be section seven, Game Aids.  Many of the charts and lists in this area could have been collected in a product similar to the Dungeon Master's Screen.  In fact, that is the only thing that seems to be "missing" from this boxed set but it certainly is not necessary for play.   

I am going to wrap this post up now so I keep it all on the topic of Adventure Master resources.  The next (and final) post will cover the rest of the material included in the box such as character sheets, battle grids, and more.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Resident Evil: Village - I Got It!

I have been waiting on Resident Evil Village since it was first announced.  I stopped on the way home from work yesterday and I  picked up the PS4 version.  I was wore out from work so my son has been playing the game.  He described it as "RE7 mixed with RE4" and that seems  accurate.  He seems to be really happy with the game and making  great progress so far has already beaten the initial difficulty setting of the game about 18 hours after I bought it.  He continued and the difficulty is a harder difficulty but new content opens up.  This should be interesting. 

I started playing Resident Evil on the original Playstation.  I have played all of the mainline games and most of the secondary games.  I have watched all of the movies and I have read all of the novels.  I am a fan but I am not an expert on all things RE-related.  I would like to try a roleplaying campaign based on Resident Evil at some point.  I know there are a few fan made adaptations out there like a D20 Resident Evil version, a Call of Cthulhu D20 version, and a Genesys version.  These all sound interesting but I have never tried any of them.

Have you played in a Resident Evil rpg?

Did you use one of these adaptations or something different?

What would you recommend?

Sunday, May 2, 2021

DragonRaid - a Closer Look (Part Two)

The A-Z for April is completed so it is time to resume regular posting.  Continuing from part one of my DragonRaid posts...

DragonRaid: Rulebook 
The next section of the DragonRaid: Rulebook is The Armor of God.  This section mentions that people are instructed to "put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:11). The special abilities of LightRaider Armor is explained in this section along with the six items that make up the Armor of God.  This is a great way to tie the game to the source material.  It would be worthwhile to adopt something like this for a traditional fantasy campaign where the paladins were clearly based on Christian Knights.

Battling Sin Enchantments is the next section.  Think of these as a curse or affliction that will harm the LightRaider in a spiritual or physical manner until they are overcome.

Combat Procedures is the largest section of this book at ten pages.  There is information on most of the typical combat rules and options as found in the typical fantasy game of this time period.  In addition, there are some advanced combat rules, rules for battling Dragon Slaves, a critical hit chart, and some additional rules for fighting Dragons.  

The remaining four and a half pages contains seven small sections of rules. Rescue  discusses rescuing LightRaiders from Sin Enchantments; why it is not included with the Battling Sin Enchantments section is not clear to me.  Using Wordrunes and Teamrunes serves as a quick rundown on their format and use. Improving A Character explains the method of advancing your character through Maturity Units - think Experience Points - to reach the "glory and perfection of the Overlord of Many Names".  In real world terms, trying to follow the example of Jesus.  Loss of Maturity Units is an explanation of how to lose Maturity Units and the effect of doing so.  Team Action emphasizes that this is a team game rather than a competition.  Role Playing is a brief explanation of the subject.  Improving The Game offers up some suggestions on increasing the fun and enjoyment of the game session.

DragonRaid: LightRaider Handbook
This book is a different size than the other manuals in the box.  This Player's Guide is index-sized, spiral bound, and weighs in at 141 pages!  This small book is split into seven sections plus an index. I will give some details of each section but I have not had time enough to read this book.

Introduction to DragonRaid opens up with a welcome letter from the President of the Dragonraider Academy.  It is assumed your character has graduated after four years of study.  This section ends with a summary of the creation of the game world EdenAgain, the rise of evil in the form of the Dragons, and the original rescue by the OverLord of Many Names.

The Dark Enemy details the origins and game statistics of The Great Red Dragon (Satan).  This section also details the different types of Dark Creatures such as Goblins and Trolls.

The Victims of EdenAgain briefly explains that dragon slaves (sinners) have fallen under the influence of the Dragon and the goal of LightRaiders is not to kill them but to save them.  Some will be rescued and have a change of heart and join the ranks.

The Fellowship of the Light covers several subjects from The OverLord of Many Names, The Sacred Scrolls, WordRunes, Celestial Guardians, and LightRaiders and the TwiceBorn.

The World of Talania is given a brief overview in this section.  Talania is one of the five continents of EdenAgain and is where the Liberated Lands and the Dragon Lands are located.  

WordRunes and TeamRunes details the 60 WordRunes and 20 TeamRunes available for use by LightRaiders in the game.  

Appendices contains two brief sections.  First, a call to discipleship; spreading the Gospel to the those that have not heard it yet.  Second, a Character Journal that provides space to record the further exploits of characters in greater detail.  

An index closes out the book.  

More information will be in the next post.


I admit that I have not read every word of any of these books but something that stands out to me so far is that I have not found anything denouncing D&D or other games as "tools of Satan".  This is surprising for me because this game was around during the Satanic Panic.  The impression I get so far is that DragonRaid is just being offered up as another alternative product available that happens to combine the roleplaying hobby with Christianity to present a tool for proselytization of others and reinforcing beliefs.  I have heard that DragonRaid was lumped in to the whole mess right along with D&D and other games back then.  I will keep my eyes posted for anything that contradicts my impression as I continue to go through these books.  If anyone can shed some light on this I would definitely be interested in hearing it.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Newest Miniatures

I picked up some new miniatures yesterday. These are immediately going into the “waiting to be painted” pile – currently in the middle of packing to move into a new house – but they were good choices. Duke Gerard will most likely serve as a player character; a Fighter or Paladin would be the most likely choices. The other miniature is a Bugbear Warrior. Obviously, the Bugbear will serve as an encounter.

I am moving closer to having miniatures to represent each character class and what seem to be the most often encounters typically used in my games. The next thing to do is to finish painting them. Then I can start acquiring any miniatures that I will need when they come up in later games. I will have a dedicated painting area when I get moved in to the new house so that will make things easier to manage.

I have been painting miniatures for less than a year. I had tried in the past but I had no idea what I was doing. I chalked that up to a learning experience and decided to focus on other aspects of the gaming hobby. This was all in the pre-internet days so the great wealth of knowledge available on youtube and other sites was not available at the time. In 2020 my son became REALLY interested in Warhammer 40K so I went on the internet to find out how much information I could gather before going any further. I didn’t want him to have the same discouraging experience as I had in my youth.

I found numerous pages of tips, tricks, and tutorials available for any skill level. I let him pick out one of the beginner boxes and we were off to the races. I discovered that I enjoy painting and I decided to continue. I have since picked up many Reaper Bones and a good selection of the Wizkids Deep Cuts range of miniatures. I am not a grand master at painting and I don’t care to be. I paint at an adequate level that I am satisfied with so I can use my miniatures for in game purposes to represent characters, encounters, NPCs, etc.; just happy they don’t look like a blob of paint randomly brushed on a figure. Painting is also a great way to unwind and relax in my spare time.  In addition, it helps me grow the hobby by passing on tips and my collection to my son.

Now it’s time to get back to packing….