Saturday, March 24, 2018

Strange Machine Games to offer Two Robotech Board Games

Well, now we know where the Robotech license went - Strange Machine Games. In addition to board games, they also publish RPGs. It makes you wonder...

Anyhow, here are the two games:

Robotech® – Attack on the SDF-1:  Play as the venerable SDF-1’s crew in this exciting and action packed full cooperative game.  Launch and pilot Veritech fighters, control Destroids, engage Zentraedi Pods, control the SDF-1, and fire the power reflex cannon!  It is up to you.  Can you protect the SDF-1 and Macross City from destruction?  Can you make it back home to Earth?] 
Players: 1-6 
Time: 120 minutes per Scenario 
Ages: 12+
Robotech® – Ace Pilot:  The Zentraedi are attacking!  Quick, grab the nearest crew member and destroy the enemy.  Using luck and skill you can become the SDF-1’s Ace Pilot.  Ace Pilot is a small area, fast playing, competitive dice-based game.  The game takes minutes to learn and can be played almost anywhere.  Your favorite Robotech® heroes help you destroy the Zentraedi Threat. 
 Players: 2-4 
Time: 25 minutes 
Ages: 8+

Friday, March 23, 2018

Video - Ol' Man Grognard Reviews 79 - The Midderlands

I really can't say enough good stuff about The Midderlands by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). Trust me, I've tried, but when I start, I find it hard to stop.

So why don't you listen to +Glen Hallstrom instead :)

Seriously, Glen covers it very well.

Yep, that's an affiliate link above. Keep the lights going strong at The Tavern.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

State of The Tavern Keeper - I've Been Drained - No Level Loss but I See More Light!

Well, I survived the afternoon in the ER. Good news is, I found an efficient and dare I say pleasant (all things considered) ER so I'm filing that away for future reference. The oral abscess is drained and I'm feeling somewhat better. I expect more pain to set in as the night goes on. Head back tomorrow to have the dental drain/stitch removed. Joy.

In the meantime, the team has been building itself organically behind the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light Revised Edition. Yes, the 2.0 reference was a joke. The Revised Edition will be 100% compatible with the current edition. Some rules might get more thorough explanations but what you currently have in your hand is "the rules". It's not changing.

What we are doing is "adding". Rob Conley will be providing a sandbox setting and we've confirmed six authors thus far for the 7+ adventures we intend to include - in no particular order: James Spahn (White Star / Barrel Rider Games), Pete Spahn (WWII: Operation White Box / Small Niche Games), Tim Shorts (Gothridge Manor / GM Games), Skeeter Green (Frog God Games / Editor / Project Manager) and Rocky Gardner & Ian McGarty of Silver Bulette Publishing (The Silvery Moon Tavern). I have multiple offers to provide a more professional layout that is compatible with the major POD services (I'll address this over the weekend when I've recovered a bit more from today's activities). This truly is a community project, by the community and for the community. I am honored to be a part of this.

There is an off chance we may hit the magic number (48 pages) for a hardcover release in addition to softcover. As for a digest-sized version, while not part of the initial release the plan is to offer such afterward.

When will this be ready? While the PDF MIGHT release in time for NTRPG Con in June, I don't foresee time enough for proofs and related revisions. So, don't look or it unless you are told otherwise.

Alright - time to med up and go sleepy-bye...

Kickstarter - Self-Standing Leather - Lite Dice Bags (One dice bag to Rule them all!)

Want a dice bag that holds approximately 400 standard sized dice? Look no further, as these Self-Standing Leather - Lite Dice Bags do just that. I could take my overflow dice collection out of their pickle jar ;)
We are producing a series of high quality, self-standing leather-lite dice bags that will make you drool. 
We call this material Leather-Lite and we're enhancing them by adding our original graphics, many that were used to create our dice trays prior to this. This material is man-made and holds images extremely well .  The material is also very durable and light weight.This is a similar material that we use to wrap our dice trays with, but in a rich brown color.  These awesome dice bags are sure to be a hit at your gaming table!   
Size: Each bag measures 7x5x5 inches and holds approx. 400 16mm polyhedral dice with ease.
Practically guaranteed to get your carryon pulled for further inspection by the TSA next time you leave Gary Con.

Seriously, that's a large dice bag.

19 Bucks a bag plus 5 to ship in the states.

In for one :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Reminder - Tavern Chat Tonight - 9 Eastern - Lets Talk SWCL 2.0

Tonight is a Wednesday Night and that means Tavern Chat. Now, I'm going to warn you all, my abscessed tooth and gum means my speech is not as clear as it usually is - and being and being a New Yorker it probably isn't all that clear in the first place ;)

We will have a topic tonight - Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2.0  No rules changes, but new, more professional layout, a sandbox setting by none other than our own +Rob Conley and seven adventures by myself, +James Spahn and players to be named later. The adventures will be 2 to 3 pages long (Rob's sandbox about 4 pages). Not going to venture a guess yet on total pages for the new version.

Where is Tavern Chat? Its held every Wednesday Night on The Tavern's Discord Server.

Use this link: https://discord.gg/fReGmuD

We mostly use voice on Wednesday Nights (with additional conversation in the Tavern Chat Text Channel)  Throughout the week the main text channel is hopping on a daily basis.

Swords & Wizardry Continual Light 2.0 - Er, Say What!?!

There was a survey and discussion over at the S&W Continual Light Google Plus Community about what folks would like to see in the future for SWCL. Overwhelmingly folks what to see a better, more professional laid out version.

I wholeheartedly agree. I am not a layout guy. It is not one of my skill sets. While the layout of the current version of SWCL is certainly serviceable, it doesn't have that "pop".

Additionally, a new layout would probably have embedded fonts, allowing for print copies at RPGNow and Lulu, not just Amazon.

In truth though, I want more than just a better layout. So the plan is to include seven two to three page adventures in the back of the rules, one for each level of SWCL. This should bring the page count to about 32 to 36 pages or so.

I've got 2 adventures in hand and a good idea of who to ping for the rest.

I'm guessing the PDF cost goes up to $2.95 with current owners of the PDF getting a free update of the PDF.

Now to track down a layout guy / gal / wizard ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

State of the Tavern - Ho Ho, More Snow and Still an Infected Tooth

There is stuff that needs to get done and this week has pretty much been a lot of wheel spinning.

WTC Health appointment took most of yesterday afternoon. Today, the afternoon was spent at the dentist, then referred to an oral surgeon and finally left at 6PM still owning an infected tooth and the accompanying annoying abscess.

Apparently being a type 2 diabetic and having had 23 radiation treatments that radiated the same side of your face as the tooth infection is enough of a variable to refer you to be a walk in at an ER room. Time to dig out the anti-biotics stash and wait the latest Noreaster out.

So, I have stuff to mail. If you are waiting for me to mail stuff it may take a few days before we are dug out on my end.

Calling for a foot or more of snow here in the city that never sleeps. I'll be sleeping thank you very much ;)

Oh, might have a Swords & Wizardry Continual Light question or two to ask our readers in a day or so based on feedback from a survey that's been up in the S&W Continual Light Community on Google Plus.

Kickstarter - Operation: Deep Freeze - A Top Secret: NWO Adventure

I've been playtesting the rules that became Top Secret: New World at NTRPG Con for the past few years. I like the rules because they are light yet full, allowing the game to take place without constantly referring to the rules.

Operation: Deep Freeze - A Top Secret: NWO Adventure looks to be a nice fit for the game engine:
A Top Secret Soviet lab located just outside a small town in Latvia. Secrets put in Deep Freeze that should not have been. Secrets that leaked out in the dead of winter. Secrets of things that should never have been.
Perfect for episodic play, and isn't that why spy games are all about?

The sweet point seems to be 18 bucks for the Print plus PDF.

As for the publisher, New Comet Games, they've been good at getting projects delivered on time for various RPG systems: D&D, C&C as well as Paranoia. I look forward to reading and running their latest venture.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Follow Up - Giving Away a Bakers Dozen of MegaHeroes Priority ID Cards (Upcoming Frog God / Jim Wampler KS for Late 2018)

We were giving out MegaHeroes Priority Identification Cards at the Frog God Booth at Gary Con and we had a few left, so I "liberated" them.

MegaHeroes is +Jim Wampler 's upcoming supers RPG that will be Kickstarted by Frog God Games this fall.

The cards are good for 20% off at the Frog God website. Don't ask me how, look at the pic above and it should be clear ;)

That being said, there are a limited number and they were only distributed at Gary Con. We have picked 13 names and they are:

Dan Delgado
Bob Hill
Zach Sweetland
Brian Cross
Hector Cruz
Tony T
Michael Gross
Ned F
M Po

The above should email me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing with MegaHeroes in the subject line. I need your snail mail address. I MAY be having a tooth pulled over the next day or two, so there MAY be a delay in getting this out. Won't know until the deed is done - or not.

News - The Fantasy Trip - Melee & Magic - 14.95 Price Points on Each

Steve Jackson Games made an announcement about The Fantasy Trip at GAMA and followed up with more info over at the Steve Jackson Games website:
At the GAMA Trade Show, just ended in Reno, we announced that the relaunch of The Fantasy Trip will start with miniboxed editions of the two combat games, Melee and Wizard, each retailing for $14.95.
The Fantasy Trip was Steve Jackson's first RPG. Its first part, Melee, was published in 1977. TFT was published by Metagaming, which went out of business about 1982, and TFT has been unsupported since then, and only available on the secondary market. 
In late 2017, Steve regained the rights to the eight TFT releases that he had written himself: Melee, Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, Advanced Melee, Advanced Wizard, In The Labyrinth, and Tollenkar's Lair. 
Most if not all of this material will be republished. The format is totally up in the air right now . . .
You can find more details at the link above.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Notes From the Tavern Keeper - How I Run Convention Games (YMMV)

I've now run convention games (Swords & Wizardry Light to be exact) at NTRPG 2017 and Gary Con 2018 - two sessions at each convention. At North Texas it was all "theatre of the mind". At Gary Con we had a level of Rappan Athuk in 3d dungeon terrain. It was certainly a different experience between the two, but some things for me remained consistent. Below is how "I Roll." Some of this might be useful for other GMs to consider or not. The only hard and fast rule is "Have Fun"

I roll characters at the table. With SWL clocking in at 4 pages as well as having character class cheat sheets that double as character cards, character generation shouldn't take more than 15 to 20 minutes, even with a table of 10 or so. Heck, my players expecting a 5e game adjusted to SWL with no issues and character generation went just as smoothly.

Note, I allow surviving characters to be used in follow up sessions at later conventions, so yes, your characters can "level up." Not an original idea - +Matt Finch and +Bill Webb do the same. It does allow for a bit more buy in from your players than "one and done" games do.

Keep it moving. While your home game may consist of half an hour of catching up and banter at the beginning of the session and assorted bullshitting throughout, a convention game must fit into a particular time slot. Additionally, if the pace slows you will lose the attention of your players. For most games you want a thrill ride, not a plodding place.

I embrace walk ups to my table. Generally speaking, most games expect 6 to 8 players. With the Swords & Wizardry Light rules, I expect I can handle up to a dozen. Even if the game is started we can probably fit you in (note, I'm speaking for myself here and not others - games with pregens and such are much more difficult to add a random person to the game)

Project your voice. While this wasn't much of an issue at last year's NTRPG Con, as we had a semi-private gaming space, at Gary Con we were set up in a hallway right outside the door for the majority of the wargaming going on. The table was large and I had to project to be heard. I wasn't always successful but I tried my darnedest.

Minis are used best for marching order. Even with the 3d terrain, it was difficult (if not damn impossible) to accurately show battles and digging out appropriate monsters would have been time consuming AND would slowed down the pace. Moving minis from room to room also slowed down the pace. But using them for marching order and pointing out the location the PCs were in combined theatre of the mind with a 3d dungeon seemed to work best.

Make magic special. Magic items that are unique will be remember well after the players leave the session. They don't need to be over powered to be very useful.

When your players are about to go off the map, improvise. They find the secret entrance to a lower level? Have it lead to a hidden chamber.

Embrace the metagaming. Its going to happen, especially with 3d dungeon terrain revealing secret rooms and occasional traps (doors to nowhere) - "Yep, there are two doors in this room that go nowhere. Don't blame me for what happens ;)"

The bottom line is everyone should be having fun. If folks walk away happy and energized, you did well.

ICv2 - Top 5 RPGs Fall 2017 - Starfinder Surpasses Pathfinder - D&D 5e Remains #1

Starfinder got the huge bump of a Gen Con release. 5e holds strong to the first position.

Star Wars traditionally holds a top 5 spot and Star Trek Adventures is a new release.

While I find the ICv2 rankings interesting, "the charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers." I prefer hard numbers. I need to find the latest ORR (Roll20) report.

And found it:

If 5e has twice the players as Pathfinder, I can see why they are rebooting to reclaim their share of the market.

Starfinder is much further down the list here...
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