We are glad to offer a 2016 Golden Ticket opportunity to StormCon and their participants. StormCon is giving away one single pass by drawing a room number from thier list of rooms. A single person in that room gets a free pass to all MACE events of 2016 (including MACE East on the USS North Carolina Battleship, if it happens) excluding Club MACE (which is our cruise, of course).
From Barry Lewis of StormCon
“The guys at JustUs Productions aka MACE really like us and have offer a great incentive to all guests who stay in our hotel for the convention. We will give away one MACE “Golden Ticket” by drawing a room number from our hotel guest list at the end of the con. A person in that room gets a free pass to all MACE events of 2016 excluding ClubMACE. Thanks so much to Jeff Smith and Ron McClung!”
Please join in working together with StormCon to make another great year in Charleston.
We are so excited about running an event in Wilmington. The town is great. So much coolness and one of the best game stores I have seen. We are looking at pricing, hotels, the Battleship and so much more. The decisions for this event seem to be a little harder than what we ran into for MACE and MACE West. But we are hopeful and very interested in making this work. We have developed a survey that we hope will give us the info we need for the event. Please take a moment to take the survey and please feel free to pass it along.
I am not sure what drove me to set the registration date to May 18 but that was a little optimistic. I am still waiting on more games to add to the schedule like D&D Adventurers league and a few more RPGs. So the schedule is not quite fleshed out. So I made the decision to move the dates up two weeks to June 1. Sorry of this causes any problems.
I think some people are not quite thinking of their summer gaming plans while others might have forgot. Either way, I plan to have it a little more fleshed out by June 1. Again, I apologize.
Stay tuned to OGRe as more games will be added soon for ConGregate 2015.
Cosmic Patrol is a new RPG from Catalyst Games Labs.
Cosmic Patrol is a very simple, story centric RPG system. Players take turns narrating their characters’ actions, shooting up slathering beasts from Planet X and battling through space pirates. The person controlling the action, the Lead Narrator, awards great storytelling and the role is shifted through the players during the session. This unique mechanic leads to a varied and fun experience that harkens back to the days of Flash Gordon and Have Space Suit, Will Travel.
From the back cover:
“In Cosmic Patrol, players take the role of patrolmen — the first line of defense for humans in a dangerous galaxy.”
The core mechanic of the game is extremely simple. Character sheets, or dossiers, for patrolmen fit on one side of a standard 3×5 index card. There are six base stats that form the basis for making up the three main types of obstacles encountered in the course of play. The six stats are: brawn, brains, charisma, combat, a special ability, and luck. Each stat is assigned a dice type that represents how good a particular patrolmen is in that area D4, D6, D8, D10 or D12. The better they are at the stat, the higher the dice number.
When patrolmen encounter a challenge, a test, or combat, they roll the dice associated with the appropriate stat as determined by the Lead Narrator (LN) and a D12. Then they add any situational modifiers stated by the LN. For instance, it’s raining acid or the gravity generator went out so this task is really difficult. The roll by the patrolmen is then opposed by the LN who rolls a single D20 on behalf of the NPC or cruel galaxy or malfunctioning doo-hicky. If the patrolmen’s roll (stat die + D12 + Modifiers) is greater than the LN’s D20 then the situation is resolved in the patrolmen’s favor.
Each of the different types of encounters are a variation of that system. Health is straightforward – they can take one or two hits before being knocked out, then they die. This is mediated by armor, cover or other equipment. Each challenge, test or combat is a single part of the whole story. How each patrolmen acts in these scenes is determined by cues on the dossier. These cues are an important part of the narrative building aspect of the game system. They let the player know what the patrolman’s personality is and how they should act based on a simple set of pulpy one liners. Cosmic Patrol really comes into its own when it comes to how the story is built and told.
From the back cover:
“Cosmic Patrol is a rules-light RPG… that is all about creating a story.”
The unique aspect of Cosmic Patrol is the group aspect of building the narrative and taking turns being the Lead Narrator (LN). A campaign is made up of missions that have cues and guidelines that let the players know what kind of story is going to happen. The also serve as prompts to get the creative goo pumping in how the players will narrate the actions of their patrolmen and how they’ll direct the action when they take their turn as LN. The LN describes the scenes and runs the combat, challenges and tests. They award good narrations from players and judicate disputes. The idea with the setting is to have fun and to build off of each other in what happens. The amount of fun will be determined by the players themselves.
In conclusion, this system is one of the lightest, simplest table top RPG rule systems I have used. It relies heavily on the narrator to set the tone and resolve disputes. The character sheets are small and simple and everything is straight forward. While the golden age pulp sci-fi setting is fun, the system is easily adjusted to a variety of sci-fi settings. Players who prefer rule dense systems like Pathfinder or Torg will find this RPG to be a little lean. A whole lot of fun to burn through an afternoon with friends.
For more details on Catalyst Game Labs and their new RPG “Cosmic Patrol” check them out at their website http://www.catalystgamelabs.com/, and at all of your local game stores.
Codex Rating: 16
From: Catalyst Game Labs
Type of Game: RPG
Written by: Randall N. Bills
Contributing Authors: Matt Heerdt, Jason Schmetzer, Phillip A. Lee
Game Design by: Randall N. Bills
Developed by: Randall N. Bills
Cover Art by: Leanne Buckley
Additional Art by: Leanne Buckley
Game Components Included: Sourcebook, Stock Characters
Game Components Not Included: Dice, Maps and Minis, Index Cards
The concept of an RPG where you play as an animal dates all the way back to the early ampersand-crazy days, when Dennis Sustare and Scott Robinson adapted Richard Adams’ Watership Down into Bunnies & Burrows. Infestation: An RPG of Bugs and Heroes explores a different area of this niche genre by focusing on insects.
From page 8:
“Even with this fight over territory overtaking much of their headspace, a bug’s life is not much different now than before. They exist to serve their colony or tribe, making sure their people have enough food and security to continue growing and taking more of This House for themselves. However, each one now also has a sense of adventure boiling inside its thorax, pushing them to venture further than their instincts tell them they should or attempting to take on predators they would have previously run from.”
Chapter One starts off by giving an overview of the setting. The premise is that the insects of a particular house were granted sentience. The how and why are left to the discretion of the Hive Master (i.e. GM). This is followed with an overview of the different types of bugs which have gained sentience (as not all bugs have been so gifted) and their typical personality traits. The overall impression is like a cross between A Bug’s Life and Redwall.
Chapter Two goes over the process of character creation. Selecting a bug type determines the starting values of your attributes (Body, Mind, Charm, and Instinct) as well as what Qualities are automatically received. Additional points are then spent on increasing the attributes. The bug is then rounded out with the selection of Qualities. A bug starts with three Attribute Qualities (which mostly provide bonus dice in certain situations) and two Item Qualities (essentially your gear). Alternatively, Quality points may be spent to take Bug Magic, which comes in two varieties. Concoctions produce a one-off effect that require some basic items to employ. Rituals (which may not be taken during character creation) produce more permanent effects that can only be performed once and require unusual materials, the gathering of which can be its own adventure.
Chapter Three focuses on the house in which these bugs live, referred to in the game text as This House. A general overview is provided for each room type. These are given whimsical names like the Carpet Desert (living room) and the Deep Dark (basement), providing a vibe reminiscent of Low Life. A series of charts for generating random room Qualities and determining which bug types dominate a particular room help out in further customizing This House.
Chapter Four covers the game mechanics, which employ Third Eye’s Pip System. This involves rolling six-siders of two different colors (white and black are used in the text, but any two distinct colors work). When a task is attempted, the player rolls white dice equal to the attribute being used and black dice equal to the difficulty assigned by the Hive Master. Each die with a result of four or better counts as a success. The task succeeds if more white dice have successes and fails if more black dice have successes. If there’s a net of three or more successes (or three or more fails), a great success (or critical failure) is achieved (as appropriate), while a tie counts as a success with complications. A multitude of examples are provided on how each of the attributes can be employed. Opposed rolls work in a similar fashion, but with the attribute the target chooses to resist with being the task’s difficulty. Combat is similarly straightforward. Initiative totals are determined by rolling a die and adding it to your Instinct. Attacks use opposed rolls, inflicting Hits to the resisting attribute. Once sufficient Hits are taken to an attribute (based on the number of linked Qualities possessed), it cannot be used until some healing is applied. This can be accomplished through eating, resting or using Bug Magic.
From page 17:
“Why do Giants squish bugs, though? No one truly knows, but many believe it is because bugs now hold the secret to life itself. If bugs are allowed to prosper in This House, they could theoretically move on to populate the world and eradicate Giants forever. It could also be because some bugs keep them around to feed on their blood.”
Chapter Five provides advice for a Hive Master on running a game. Much of what gets covered is fairly typical of GM advice chapters seen in other RPGs, which more experienced GMs can probably skim over. Suggestions of the sort of adventures which can occur in Infestation warrant more attention due to the highly unconventional nature of the setting. Following this is a bestiary listing the sort of hazards a bug is likely to encounter in an adventure. The chapter concludes with two scenario outlines. The first involves dealing with a rival bug tribe from outside moving in on This House. The second concerns a toothpick jousting tournament which the various tribes of This House are competing in.
In conclusion, the niche nature of the setting means it won’t have an especially broad appeal. But if you’re the sort who thinks that A Bug’s Life is unfairly maligned, the simple mechanics of the Pip System make playing out similarly themed adventures a breeze.
Infestation: AN RPG of Bugs and Heroes
From: Third Eye Games
Type of Game: RPG
Written by: Eloy Lasanta, Jacob Wood, and Amanda Milner
No Ordinary Gamers will be hosting a come and learn event. We will have games from not only Steve Jackson Games but also Atlas Games, Epic Press (Havok & Hijinks) as well as many other gaming companies. Come play games with us and celebrate a micro-mace event! FREE admission! We will have plenty of Learn to Play opportunities. As well as a chance to win a free pass to Mace 2015.
I feel like I need to write a report on our trip to Wilmington since we had such an incredible response on Facebook when the idea popped up.
Here is a little background for those that do not know. For a while now (6 years or so), Jeff and I have have been toying around with the idea of a MACE on the east side of the state, in particular Wilmington. Off and on, JustUs has been approached by a hotel from that area which really put the idea in the back of our mind. When MACE left High Point, there were some people that thought that a drive to Charlotte was a little too much, so we really wanted to bring back a piece of MACE to those folks. MACE West was born first as people in Hickory (and subsequently Asheville) had a stronger presence at MACE in Charlotte and were more persuasive.
With MACE West a considerable success in Asheville, our minds have returned to doing something in eastern NC. When we got a huge influx of ECU students at MACE West, that also threw up some flags. When I made a post about a German destroyer being used as a location for a live action role play (on February 2 2015 in the MACE FB group), I was more or less joking about doing something on the USS North Carolina. But the feedback we got from the idea was incredible and so we started pursuing it. Of course, thanks to contacts he gained over the years of doing these things, Jeff knew somebody in the Wilmington CVB and things started lining up pretty easily for us to make it happen. Prices looked good. Hotel opportunities looked good. So all this lead us 3 months later to a site visit with people in Wilmington on May 2 of this year.
Jeff and I have gone back and forth on ideas for a MACE East over the years. I am fairly sure we have settled on a good concept for the first year, at least. Our idea is to have a 3 day weekend event (Fri, Sat and Sun), like everyone is used to but with a slight twist (at least for the first year). It would be in late January or early February, depending on space availability. Friday and Sunday would be a normal convention day at the hotel we choose. But Saturday, we would have everyone move over to the battleship for a one day gaming event at the battleship (preferably using a shuttle system). We were really concerned about the logistics of getting people there, of registration on Saturday for any one day passes and generally getting around on deck. Of course, we thought of Artemis on the ship but there are some logistics concerns for that as well.
We lined up 6 hotel visits and a visit to the battleship. We met with the CVB rep assigned to us, Bree Nidds and she graciously drove us around every location. For a young woman just out of college and only living in Wilmington 2 years, she knew the area pretty well. Starting with the closest locations to the battleship and going further out, there were a lot of pros and cons to all the locations. The one I like the most may not have the dates available and the one with the most growth potential might be too expensive. The one furthest out is a great deal and very interesting. MACE Golf tournament, anyone? There is a lot to consider.
The end result was we liked a majority of the locations but it is going to be up to rental rates and room rates to decide. Jeff is crunching the numbers now but things look really good. We will be putting out a survey soon to get opinions on what our potential attendees would be willing to pay for this new event. Stay tuned for further updates on this project as we work on it.
There are two key things that came out of this trip that really were (1) pleasantly surprising and (2) scary in a good way. The logistics surrounding the battleship were collectively the first surprise. They are not going to be the issue we thought. First, the mess hall is much bigger than either of us ever thought.
They were serving 300 Free Masons in there that night. It is right off the main deck so it is easily accessible. Of course, the stairs are tricky (they are more like ladders) but that can be overcome. Some of our more physically challenged gamers might have to settle for gaming in the auditorium in the welcome center. The auditorium was also a nice surprise, giving us an option to game off ship but not far away.
Finally, the big surprise was the ward room. We could not see it because it was under constructions but it is on the main deck, easily accessible.
They are restoring it right now to be used as meeting space, and we can fit probably 25 to 30 tables in it. That got our attention. There was also an admirals room one level up that we could use for special games. We also looked at the bridge for a possible Artemis game. We will see about that. Jeff has to talk to the Artemis guys.
There are a few catches involved. First, this will be January. Although we were assured that weather is less an issue in Wilmington, it will still be winter. Secondly, we won’t have the run of the ship until after 5 pm. Tourists, if any, will be walking around. But we are not sure what kind of traffic they will have in January. The physical challenges of getting on board and around the ship are enough to note for some of our attendees. Getting gaming stuff on board will also be a challenge for some. But nothing stood out for us as a game changer. The sheer experience of gaming on the battleship outweighs everything else, as far as we can see.
Needless to say, the USS North Carolina has a lot of potential with very little down-side. The staff is very excited about the opportunity. Jeff and I are also excited. We are going to make this happen one way or another.
The second key factor that both pleasantly surprised while at the same time scared us was the gaming community. Wilmington basically has one gaming store – Cape Fear Games. I was not sure what that said about the gaming community in Wilmington. When we walked into the store, a whole new light was shined on the Wilmington gaming community. Simply put, it is hopping! We met several cool people and it is quite obvious the community is hungry for a local gaming convention.
Our greatest fear was we were going to be seen as carpetbaggers coming in from out of town and stepping on other peoples’ toes. That could not be further from the truth. We were warmly welcomed and encouraged to make MACE East happen. They told us that there was a strong desire for a gaming con but no one wanted to take the reigns. I have not felt more welcome in a gaming community since our efforts in Asheville started or when I ran games at StormCon.
What scared us was the sheer amount of energy and desire for a gaming con. We might have too much! We may have underestimated the local support! That does not scare us away though, it only gets factored in to our planning. Bottom line – the local support is going to be good.
Thank you to John Fox of Foxhammer Games, T. Julian Bell of Raex Games and Bree Nidds for making us feel welcome in Wilmington. It was incredible and we are going to do what we can to make this happen.