Saturday, January 4, 2020

New Year's Day Tradition: Saving the Galaxy!

In what's become a bit of a tradition now around New Year's Day, the Geeklet and returned to Fantasy Flight Games in Roseville to play our homebrew Star Wars minis game which is part-skirmish, part capture the flag.

FFG provides many large tables to game at, as well as lots of interesting terrain to incorporate into your game. Each time we've gone, she's enjoyed setting up the battlefields and coming up with what our battle-story will be.

Though she'd recently been toying with playing the bad guys, she took up the Rebel cause, which left me the Imps.

She picked the main heroes from the OT, (Leia, Luke, Han, Chewie, Lando, etc.) plus a few flunkies.

Luke and Leia ventured out from opposite ends of the Rebel side and both encountered wild battle cats!

Luke was successful in using The Force to make it his ally--and thus, against the Stormies!

Much later, the Rebel ship, The Ghost, took out a few marauding baddie vehicles, including a TIE. It got into a shooting match with an Imp speeder, which left both a little worse for wear.

Using her own formidable Force powers, Leia tamed another wild battle cat and captured the Darkside base and won the game!

As a coda, the Geeklet insisted on a big lightsaber battle high atop an Imperial watchtower.

It was three-to-one. Not only was Vader  defeated, he turned back to the good side of The Force.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Adventures in the Cave of Wonders!

Friday, I took the Geeklet to see the new Aladdin film, expecting it to be passable. But WHOA was I wrong--it's awesome! Disney did a great job updating their own material--and letting Will Smith take the Genie in a new direction that fit his style (since Robin Williams is basically irreplaceable). But the real boon came the next day. After a full afternoon of yard work for the whole family--Grandma included (my mom)--kiddo wanted to "play Dungeons and Dragons!"

I'd hoped that she might get that idea, and earlier in the day I made a quick trip to my FLGS to have a look at their used minis rack. I found a blue genie that I knew would be PERFECT for an Aladdin-themed game.

Let's make it a party!
But by far the BEST part was that the kid convinced my 75 y.o. mother to play. Now, my mom is the one who gave me my first boxed sets of D&D when I was a kid (I think I was 9? Maybe?). But she's NEVER played. And any time I begged her to try (hey, there were never kids around who wanted to play) she was steadfast in her refusals.

But she and the Geeklet have been playing pretend every weekend for years now. It's second-nature to them: making up super-powered princess characters and having all sorts of adventures. This is essentially that--with dice!

And I've talked about playing games with the kiddo before, but those were largely skirmish-focused. This was to be more in the way of an actual D&D game: off-the-cuff storytelling, exploring, combat and dice deciding our fates--but as light and easy as possible.

They had character sheets with stats and any time I needed them to make a 'to hit' I gave them a number to roll against. And if it was a save, I picked a stat for them to roll under. SUPER streamlined.

Arabian Fafrd and The Gray Mouser?
I thought a good 'ol dungeon crawl through the Cave of Wonders would work nicely. I wanted the story to be familiar to the Geeklet, so we began with their characters in the bazaar in Agrabah, the fabled kingdom from the film.

She played a brave fighter named Celia and my mom played a very skeptical thief named Hovy. [Sidenote: my mom, at 75, never having played ANY RPG came up with her character's name, backstory and general demeanor in less than 2 minutes???!!]

They found themselves duped into stealing food to feed starving peasants. It was a ruse by the evil sorcerer Jafar--he was testing their skills for a much bigger job: delving into the Cave of Wonders to seek out the magic lamp!

Picked up this colorful Wildlands map from Osprey. Kiddo and I played an adventure using the tower side last week.

After a brief incarceration they were carted off into the desert to the cavern, where they were tossed inside with some gear and weapons. Right away, I introduced the idea that the cave was filled with treasure that would tempt them (they passed their Wisdom saves). But dangled the notion that this would not be their first test in resisting something shiny to pocket.

If you remember the films--this is a big deal because anyone who takes anything other than the lamp will find themselves running for the exit while the cave collapses.

The crystal canyon/cavern side made for a nice Cave of Wonders to explore.

Soon after, they were ambushed by an armed band of skeletons--which gave them some trouble and a few bumps and bruises.

A tunnel of encroaching walls encrusted with sharp crystals made them dash into a room of complete darkness where a mummy was waiting! Regular combat wouldn't put this baddie down, but they did have a supply of torches, which came in handy for setting it ablaze.

As bedtime loomed closer, we came to a hall of golden mirrors. I cribbed heavily from Harry Potter on this one--they each saw in their reflection that they were holding something. This time I made them roll a Charisma check to test their vanity (it seemed like a nice swap since their Wisdom and Charisma scores were near opposites).

Celia the fighter passed and found herself holding the lamp! But Hovy the thief failed his save and was left holding...a giant jewel. And then the walls came crashing down!

They ran for the exit, making their way out along their path, but in reverse--having to avoid the same traps, plus a few new ones.

In the end, they woke Genie from his slumber and made their first wish: GET US OUT OF HERE!

Seriously, I don't think I've had this much fun making a game on the fly. And I think they had fun--at least, they said they did.

Here's hoping for more multi-generational RPGing. I mean... they still have 2 wishes left!

Monday, March 18, 2019

That's Gameable hatched on Twitter!

 Well it looks like we made the big time! That's Gameable has become a tag on Twitter! I'm blushing with surprise and pride that it's made it made it's way onto a more public-facing site! As famed chaos mathmatician Ian Malcolm once said ...

It looks like the first post was by OSRer, Follow Me, And Die! 


Man, I need to catch up with the times. I need to start posting more stuff on Twitter, I guess! 

Anyway, you can look for more TG content via Twitter--once I get my act together--using #thatsgameable (with hashtag). This makes my heart swell, especially since G+ is on its way out [saddest of emojis]. At least the slimy tendril of That's Gameable has made a dash to safety!

Shout out to FMAD for being the first poster. Gotta keep it going now!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Google Plus is dying

And I am grieving. It's been the impetus for SO much inspiration and joy--having connected with many, many like-minded gamers, artists, scientists, writers, cartographers, musicians, video makers, journalists, and other kinds of fabulous nerds and geeks, over the last several years.

I feel like I'm losing a close relative. 

Soon Google will pull the plug completely. Until then, I'll be firing up the furnace here on the blog. (At least until the end comes for Blogger--whenever that is!)

You can find a complete list of where I'm at on Where Am I

I'll post a final, updated list of links when the end of G+ finally, inevitably arrives.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bedtime Battles: Part Two

In my previous post, I mentioned that my daughter and I have been playing Star Wars or super hero themed skirmish games. These are very rules light, d20 roll-offs with (sometimes) a bit of story to them. But often they're just quick excuses to pick out cool minis and roll dice back and forth.

Earlier this evening however, I thought I'd try (or retry, to be accurate) running an actual mission with a goal. 

She played the heroes (Rebels) and I played the bad guys (Imperials). We kept the rules super streamlined, using a d20 for most things, and a d12 for special circumstances. 

Mission 1: Rebel Retreat!

My daughter chose five rebel-esque minis from my collection, including a stand-in for her favorite Star Wars character "Princa' Leia" and two well-known droids. I tossed a few Paizo Gamemastery map tiles down (Ambush Sites pack) with a bridge and told her it was her job to get the droids safely across a stone bridge over a fast-moving river. 

Imperials cut off the Rebels' only escape!

As the Imperial commander, it was my job to capture the droids before they got away aboard the Millennium Falcon on the other side of the bridge.

A giant, mini-chomping monster lurks behind our heroes!

I started with four Imperials on the board with three more in reserve. She started with all five of her characters. The droids didn't have weapons and had to be protected, so they essentially were non-combat characters.

Victory conditions: 
Rebels win by crossing the bridge to the Falcon. Imperials win by capturing the droids. Eliminating all your enemy's forces is an automatic win.

Here are the basic rules:

Activate 2 characters per round (d20)
Each player could move and fire (a single action) with two separate characters per turn. So two characters got to something for each team. The reason for this is simple--we were nearing bedtime so it kept things moving! 

Minis could only move 3 squares at a time. 

Weapon types determine your attacks
Any mini with a blaster could shoot from a distance. Minis with a weapon in hand had to be right next to their target to attack. A Jedi with a lightsaber could deflect blaster fire. 

To hit roll results and critical fails/successes

  • 1 is a miss and player misses next turn 
  • 2-9 is a miss
  • 10+ is a hit
  • 20 is a double hit (choose a second target to take out)

We never had either type of crit. In retrospect, having so few characters on the board would have been devastating to have 2 taken out with one hit. So maybe a 20 should be a hit and the attacker gets to move again (but not shoot). And maybe the 1 means you get to move but not shoot next turn (weapon malfunction, etc.). 

What happens when your character is hit?
They go to "jail" which is the other player's area on the board. Rebels are captured and can be rescued. Imperials are taken out and can be replaced with fresh recruits. (See below on both.)

Refresh your faction (d12)
Once per round, in place of an action, a player could rescue a captured comrade (Rebels roll 11+) or call for reinforcements (Imperials roll 8+. A refreshed character respawns back on their team's side of the board.

Using the Force (d12)
Any side with a Jedi or Sith (basically a character with a lightsaber) could use one of their two actions to use Force Push (8+) to take out an opponent. 

When attacked by blasterfire, a Jedi could immediately defend themselves by rolling a 4+ or higher. This was way too easy, so I'd suggest making it at least a 6 for future games. Alternatively, it'd be fun to use whatever the blaster bolt roll was as a roll under target. So the higher your opponent rolled to hit you (10 or higher), the better chance you have to defend!

How'd it go?

Victory dance!

She won! Handily, I might add. It's no small feat either as the game was weighted in favor of the Imperials since they had more combat-capable characters (just like in the movies!). Then again, I never chose a force-wielding character, so she got to use the Force powers (at least in the first game). 

Turned out having a Jedi was a boon, though I captured "Obee Kenobee" before the game ended. She had great rolls though and the Force was ultimately on her side.

Mission Two: Starship Takeover!

Whomever designed the innards of this vessel should be expelled from the Academy!
This was a pretty standard capture the flag mission, with each side starting out on separate sides of the "ship" (Paizo's Starship Corridors maps). Here, I was looking to see how well she could move around the board--esp. one that didn't have a straight forward layout, like the bridge. Results were mixed, owing to what I'll chalk up to a confusing layout and a increasingly weary toddler.

Moments before this stormie went airborne...
One new element with the corridors was the idea of line-of-sight when shooting. We've toyed with that before (quite literally--shooting around Star Wars toys as terrain) but this was a little harder to grasp because everything is on the map, so the corridor pathways were less discernible to her. There were no three-dimensional items to work with.

We also tossed in a new rule for movement. That if you had one character left on your side, you could move twice. Again, this sped things up, especially when you're hopping through long, convoluted corridors--and by the end of the game we both only had one character left.

She won again, but not nearly as easily. She opted not to use a Jedi and her forces were picked off over time. One of her three "Chewbaccas" was the sole survivor for quite a while. But she eventually wiped out the Imperial forces. Her last  hero made it fairly deep into Imperial territory as well--so she could have won that way too, had she not mopped up every guy on my squad!

Oh, and I couldn't resist another new rule for the Wookiee clan: If they were in an adjacent square, they could roll a d12 and have the chance to pick up an hurl a bad guy (11+). And of course, she rolled a 12...

That's my girl!