Posts Tagged ‘tabletop’

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Gaming Thursday

December 6, 2018

In honour of both Ralph Breaks the Internet as well as our own just-started D&D campaign…

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Stompy Day: Heavy Gear Action

November 11, 2018

Finally got in some Heavy Gear gaming, learning the rules and the ropes, as it were…

Also got a chance to try out a nice laser line generator, which was a glorious gift for figuring out line of sight (where has this thing been all my life?).

It was a fun afternoon of stompy action!  We just did a simple scenario with the base subset of the rules and typical front-line units to familiarize ourselves.  We’ll keep adding to the mix* in our next games.  Also will continue to try out using satellite photos as the playing field, and maybe even some 3D printed terrain.  More fun times ahead, I’m looking forward to it.

* Though, as you can see, I’m already way behind in putting together enough minis…

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Gaming Thursday: Conveying the Rules

November 8, 2018

Over the past 6 years or so, I’ve had fun trying out many new game systems.  From role playing to pure tactical, from the crunchy to the more narrative, they’ve run the gamut.  Through this all I’ve been reminded of two very big things:

  • Crafting a smooth, engaging, fun, and enabling game system is an art.
  • Conveying those rules with clarity and structure is an entirely separate art.

Neither of these are revelatory, of course.  But while most of these new systems I’ve come to enjoy and find quite well done, almost all of them suffer greatly in the second department.  Often, horribly so.

It’s a strange phenomenon to me, this consistency to which rulesets these days (in my experience, at any rate) are both poorly explained, with awkward, ambiguous, and poorly worded statements, and poorly laid out, with the most egregious (and, again, common) being interlocking rules elements that are strangely separated in the book by whole chapters and further compounded by meagre, or worse, no index so you can’t readily find things mid-game.  It is one reason I’ve been making so many cheat sheets – designing them allows me to see and learn how the game rules actually fit together*, with the in-play for quick reference being almost a bonus feature.

This may be starting to sound a bit like a rant, and truly I don’t mean it to be.  Instead, these two things have been great reminders for me of the importance of finding and trusting good editors and, even more importantly, being aware of what we’re good at, and what we’re not.  We may be brilliant at designing rules, but we may stink at writing them down (or vice versa).  Hiring people to aid us in those roles where we are weak can be the best thing for us and the game.

It is also a reminder that when I do find a game that excellently handles both bits, celebrate both the rules but even more so the authors/team who wrote them and laid out the book with such elegance.  For it is most certainly not a given.

 

* To which really allows one to see just how strange the organization can be by noting how many times, forty or sixty pages later in the book, you need to go back and add something to a part of the cheat sheet you thought you were done with.

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Gaming Thursday: STA Cheat Sheet Update

November 1, 2018

Just a quick post to note I updated my Star Trek Adventures cheat sheet to fix a few errors I had on there (oops!)…

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k9AR8oRJ_qiSPoxW7QEVWZU50jQiIYOr

Happy gaming in the final frontier!

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Gaming Thursday: D&D Character Sheets

October 4, 2018

To complete the trifecta, here are the character sheets I whipped up for our D&D game:

This one was done very quick and dirty like, heavily slicing and dicing the PDF print from the Forged Anvil excel character sheet, coupled with the borders from the official D&D Beyond character sheets and a gaggle of other graphics, symbols, and a parchment like background.  Still, quite pleased how it turned out.  As a bonus, you can see the banner I designed for my character on the last page (which itself was a kitbash using the banners from the Battletech kickstarter game as a starting point).  Sorry about the shadow on that photo there…

We’re restarting that campaign in just over a week, looking forward to it and to continuing to give this gaming notebook a try.  Happy gaming!

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Gaming Thursday: Star Trek Adventures Character Sheet

September 27, 2018

Following up on last week’s post, next up:  Star Trek Adventures!

I had a lot of fun with this one, generating it from scratch using the principles and look of the now infamous TNG-era LCARS computer interface.  The LCARS look was really convenient in accommodating a layout split down the middle.  I played around a bit with whether to put the service record or gear inside vs which went on the back – in the end I chose to keep the service record on the inside as it linked best with the character’s history, values, and other RP items.

As with the last design, I’m very chuffed with how this turned out!  I like the look far more than the ones that come with the game, and I think it organizes thing in ways that better emphasizes RP and the mechanics that support it.

Also as with the last design this should work equally well outside of a/the notebook.  With a minor tweak to add equipment it could easily be a single-sided sheet as well.  I’ve made a blank version of the sheet in PDF format, an InDesign file with the necessary text boxes, and all required fonts available in a zip file for download.  Enjoy!  And live long and prosper.

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Gaming Thursday: Firefly Character Sheet

September 20, 2018

One of my gaming buddies surprised our group by buying each of us one of the rather lovely Gametee gaming notebook folios/folders.  “Ooooo…” thought I, “I gotta use me this.  Four separate notebooks, that’s one for each campaign.”  Thing is, the notebooks within use roughly A5 sized paper, so cramming a standard character sheet in there won’t quite work.  Plus, it’d be great to be able to put the character sheet right in the middle of the notebook, using the same elastic string that holds the replacable notebooks in the folio.  Which would therefore need a landscape-oriented character sheet with nothing down its middle.

You know what that means…  completely non-obsessive and totally healthy character sheet design mania activated!

First up, for our Firefly game:

As the game uses the Cortex Plus system there isn’t too much that needs to be captured onto the character sheet.  I followed the basic design of the official sheets, tweaking organization to be both clearer and avoid the centre of the sheet.  Also took an opportunity to add a splash of colour and make the die types quicker to read.  Since pretty much all game info could fit on one landscape page trimmed to fit, I could use the back of the sheet as a booklet for theme-inducing art and a character portrait.

I’m quite chuffed how this turned out and looking forward to using it in game tomorrow night!

With its fold-over design, I think it works equally nicely even outside of a/the notebook.  Or just print the “inside” and it’s pretty much all there.  I’ve made a blank version of the sheet in PDF format, an InDesign file with text boxes in appropriate places, plus font and die image information, all available in a zip for download.  Enjoy!  And keep flyin’…