ApocalypZe

From: Kingdoms Publications

Reviewed by: Joey Martin

ApocalypZe is a new card game from Kingdom Publications.

The long awaited apocalypse has occurred. There are zombies. One could call it the ApocalypZe. There is no mention of how it happened or why it happened. No mention of Patient Zero or a possible cure. You are just holed up in some familiar location trying to survive.

There are others out there. Others whose idea of survival is to send the hordes of zombies and other threats your way. You have to fight fire with fire.

From the back box cover: “Legions of the undead are at your door, trying to claw their way inside. Starved and alone, you make your stand. Will you survive?

This game looks good. The box is sturdy and the art, a nice play on the typical zombie hordes at a door, is muted and well done. The cards are glossy, printed on a good stock and the artwork is very nice there as well. It’s an almost realistic style that works well with the theme. One highlight are the zombie cards. Your ‘basic trooper’ card is basically two in one. The left side depicts your police officer/military soldier/ ganger/ average citizen on a blue background. The right side depicts the same character as a zombie on a red background. A cool concept that is very well done.

Each player has a 60-card deck. There are four pre-made decks. Each is based off a ‘home’ location. A church, a military base, a police station or a bar. You can use these pre-made decks and jump right in the game. I would suggest doing so. Extra cards are given so that players can personalize their decks.

To start the game, each player places his base down and draws eight cards from their deck. Each turn consists of five stages:

1-Draw: Draw from your deck until you have eight cards in your hand

2-Occupation: Pick one location and play as many cards as you please to that location

3-Scavenge: Other locations may come available. When you play them you can send people to that location to scavenge for items and allies.

4-Combat: Self explanatory.

5-Consumption: Basically ‘spending’ cards to feed and keep your people alive.

It sounds like a basic game rules wise but it turns out to be quite complex in play. The key here is that you pick one location to play cards to. The first turn you have to occupy your base. After that you can send your minions to any location. Blue cards are allies and are played to your base or other locations you are attempting to scavenge. Red cards are zombies, cultists or other threats that you direct towards a location one of the other players control. Those cool half blue and half red cards? When you play them you state which they represent, a human or a zombie when played. There is a good bit of strategy involved with placement.

Combat is easy. Each location has an Access number. This represents doors, windows, chimneys and more that attackers can attempt to enter. Some locations are more secure than others. The more access, the more venues for attackers to split their forces and hit. However, each location has a Value number as well. If an attacker does get in, this value number, representing the damage the attacker does, is what you will have to spend on consumption at the end of the round. For example, the church may only have one set of doors and few windows, but if a horde of zombies does make its way in, it’s going to do more damage to the infrastructure that player controls than it would at the military base.

Each card has an attack and a defense value. When an attack is blocked and combat occurs you basically compare these values. Each side takes the damage and it is possible for both sides to be destroyed. It is also possible that you could have an extremely tough character who walks away unscathed. If attacking an enemy base, any attackers who get through this defense affect the Value as described below.

There are other cards that affect play. Some represent weapons and items to enhance a character in play. Some are occurrences that affect combat or scavenging. Overall a nice way to buff your cards and to see a little randomization in the game.

From page #3: “Throughout the course of the game, you will be forced to consume resources. In order to do this, you will move cards into your discard pile.”

Consumption is the win or lose concept in this game. At the end of your turn you have to consume. For each character you have in play you spend one consumption. Other factors such as cards in play and damage done by attackers to your base can increase this. For each point of consumption you have to pay, you can either discard the top card from your deck, discard two cards from your hand or discard a character, counting his Value number as the amount of consumption paid. The object of the game is to be the last one with a deck left.

In conclusion, this is a fun game. It might take a play or three to get the hang of it but it’s more complex than it seems. Luck does play a part. There are only so many allies and characters in your deck. In my first game, my opponent pulled four strong attackers in her first draw. I pulled only one weak defender. She had me on the defensive the entire game.

Once you get past the learning curve and get a little experience, this one is quite enjoyable.

For more details on Kingdoms Publications and their new card game “ApocalypZe” check them out at their website http://www.ninekingdoms.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary
Apocalypze
From: Kingdom Publications
Type of Game: Card/Strategy
Game Design by: Ivan Turner
Developed by: Ivan Turner, Peter Spano, Chris Hanson
Art by: Pamela Mazurkevich, Kara Zisa, Nick Bowen
Number of Pages: 16 (rulebook)
Game Components Included: Rulebook, 304 cards
Retail Price: $40(US)
Number of Players: 2 – 4
Player Ages: 13+
Play Time: 30 – 60 minutes
ISBN: 978-0-9836116-1-5
Email: None given.
Website: www.ninekingdoms.com

Reviewed by: Joey Martin

Eldritch Horror

From: Fantasy Flight Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Eldritch Horror is a new Board Game from Fantasy Flight Games.

Few games get a reaction like the Arkham Horror game series.  The base game is incredible and the expansions do add a lot.  I just do not recommend running it with more than one expansion.  As time went on, it was harder and harder to pull in players for the game unless you were at a con where people were prepared to play a 4+ hour game.

Then came Eldritch Horrora new take on a the Arkham Horror concept.  The designers took the basic concept of Arkham Horror and globalized it. They had me at global!

From page #2: “Harrigan ran his bandaged hand across the map on the hotel room’s wall. Dozens of documents and scraps of paper from all over the world were pinned to their corresponding locations, interconnected by a complex web of colored string.”

In general, Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game where players trek across the world, investigating and taking on challenges with the overall goal of defeating an Ancient One causing all the trouble.  Of course, like Arkham Horror, this game is inspired by the writings of HP Lovecraft.  In each game, an Ancient One is chosen and various setup based on that is determined.  The players ultimate goal is to banish this Ancient One, but if they fail, it awakens and humanity is doomed.

There are a lot of similarities between Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror.  However, obviously because of the global nature of the game, there are some differences. The board is a full map of the earth, divided up into countries and major cities highlighted with large circles with game information in it, much like the locations in Arkham in Arkham Horror.  All are connected by travel routes called Paths either by rail, sea or the dotted wilderness trails.  You need tickets to travel rail or ship paths and a character is limited to two tickets at any given time during the game.  There are also locations marked along the paths with numbers and symbols signifying what kind of location it is (city, sea or wilderness location).  These act as other locations used in the game for Clues as well as other things in the cards.

There is something called the Omen Track on the board as well as a Doom track and the Asset reserve area.  These have similar parallels to Arkham but because of the more epic nature of Eldritch, they act differently.  Assets (which are various pieces of equipments, artifacts and allies) are acquired through skills tests rather than money.  There is no real monetary system in this game – only clues and tickets.

Of course, the game is heavily card driven, as one would expect.  The turn sequence is simple, it just gets complicated the more cards are drawn and the more challenges one has to face.  There are Encounter cards for each region (America, Asia and Europe), as well as General Encounters which are chosen as an option in certain areas and mandatory in others.  These act similarly to Arkham Encounter cards and can be somewhat helpful or can be really challenging.  Additionally, there are Expedition Cards, which are cards drawn if you land on the current expedition.

From page # 2: “He followed a red string from the transcribed testimony of a lunatic in Arkham to a pencil rubbing of some pictographs he found in the Amazon. From there, he traced a blue thread to a page torn from the journal of that astronomer who was murdered in Sydney.  ”

Clues are slightly different from Arkham Horror.  They are not just automatically acquired.  One has to solve a Research Encounter (another set of cards, keyed towards the specific Ancient One).  So they are not as plentiful as they are in Arkham. Like Arkham, they can be used to help in skill checks.  They also help in solving Mysteries and Rumors.

There are the dreaded Mythos cards that we all should be familiar with if you played Arkham Horror. There is a specific mechanic on building the Mythos deck, with three different colors marking the progression of difficulty in the game.  Make progress early in the game or things are going to get harder.

In the end, your goal is to solve the Mystery cards associated with the Ancient One you chose, all the while trying to keep the number of gates down (opened by Mythos cards) and killing creatures (released by gates).  Your progress is hampered by various events like Rumors, which are like short term Mysteries that effect your progress considerably.  Rumors and other events come up in the Mythos cards as well.  More simplified in the game, as compared to Arkham, are the gates and travelling to other worlds.  These are boiled down to their own cards but still have similar impact.

The game comes with four starting Ancient Ones and more come with expansions.  There are 43 monsters, 12 characters and 9 possible Gates.

I have played this game multiple times, some at home and some at cons.  I have had a lot of fun with it and it continues to challenge us.  Much like Arkham Horror, it has a lot of replay-ability and it is like a different game every time you play.  I have yet to win the game, however, but that only makes me want to keep trying.

In conclusion, this game is very fun to play but like its predecessor, very involved.  It takes a long time to play, even without the expansions.  I was a big fan of Arkham Horror but I am even a bigger fan of Eldritch Horror.  I think it is a worthy heir to the product line.  I highly recommend it if you can handle long games.

For more details on Fantasy Flight Games and their new Board GameEldritch Horror” check them out at their website http://www.fantasyflightgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 19

Product Summary

Eldritch Horror
Game Design: Corey Konieczka and Nikki Valens
Additional Content and Design: Tim Uren, Richard Launius
Inspired by the Arkham Horror Design by: Kevin Wilson, Richard Launius
Editing/Proofreading: Brendan Weiskotten
Graphic Design: Michael Silsby with Dallas Melhoff, Chris Beck, Shaun Boyke
Cover Art: Anders Finer
Investigator Art: Magali Villeneuve
Game Board Location Art: Raymong Bonilla, David Griffith, Ed Mattinian, Patrick McEvoy, Emilio Rodriguez, Tim Tsang, Magali Villeneuve, and Drew Whitmore
Additional Interior Art: The artists of Call of Cthulhu LCG and Arkham Horror Files products
Investigator and Location Art Direction: Zoë Robinson
Managing Art Director: Andrew Navaro
Managing Graphic Designer: Brian Schomburg
Production Manager: Eric Knight
Executive Producer: Michael Hurley
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Number of Pages: 16 Page rulebook
Game Components Included: Board, a bunch of cards and a bunch of card board bits. (Typical for FFG)
Retail Price: $59.95 (US)
Number of Players: 1 to 8
Player Ages: 14+
Play Time: 3+ hours
Website: www.fantasyflightgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

MACE East 2016 Review

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MACE East has been in our minds since we started thinking about branching out.  We first tried to branch out with a mini-mace South but it was a dismal failure with no one preregistering.  Then we went all-in with a MACE West in Hickory, then moved it to Asheville, and that is now entering it’s 6th year.  MACE East resurfaced when we heard about a LARP event in Germany being held on a decommissioned destroyer.  The USS North Carolina immediately came to my mind, but I really did not think anyone would take it seriously.  MACE West was enough for us to handle, I felt.

Low and behold, there was some pretty strong interest and after some investigation into prices seemed very doable.  So we did a site visit in May and looked at several hotels to base it out of.  We also took a tour of the Battleship and where we might host gaming.  Long story short, the battleship end of this idea fell through due to construction delays on the room we were going to use.   It probably was for the best because we really needed to put out feelers on how well this event would do in general before we committed to the extra cost and logistics issues two sites would present.

We picked some dates in January but as it turns out, the hotel could only accommodate an affordable price the second weekend in January.  Although that was too close to our big event MACE, as well as the Holidays, we decided to give it a try.  What we did not look into was how close it was to other events and as it turned out, it was on the same weekend as a fandom and gaming event two hours away.  That was our mistake and we hope to correct that in the future.  Lessons we preach to other cons, we did not heed and that was our own laziness getting in the way.

We went into this with a very positive feeling.  As time went on and I put out the GM call the game schedule began to grow.  In the end, despite struggles in finding a Pathfinder Society coordinator, we had a pretty decent schedule of over 100 games.  At least it was decent for a first year gaming con.  MACE West first year was very comparable in this respect.  However, the hotel was considerably less expensive for MACE West.

Day one started out later than usual for us because we did not want to add on the expense of another hotel stay for the staff.  We needed to save money however we could.  Travelling over 3 hours to Wilmington was a challenge with 3 kids but we made it.  They were as excited about a new location as we were.  I set up fairly quickly and watched the gamers trickle in.

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Attendance was light at first but by Saturday we had a decent crowd and the rooms were noisy.  We obviously had enough of the dedicated core gamers of the area and surrounding towns that once they left, word would get out next year.  I think one lesson I draw from this event is that gamers suffer from a serious deprivation of community.  Meaning they have no idea that gaming can be a community and have no idea how to plug in.  So they suffer from this by not knowing about events like ours.

To explain, we had several people come in and tell us that they had only heard about our event a few days prior.  Now, grant it, we planned this 2 weeks after the Holidays when most people are focused on family and celebration, but we have been working at this for a lot longer than that.  I ask them how did they find out about things like this.  They said word of mouth.  I am glad they found out about it, but there are many ways people can plug in to find out about things faster.  Don’t be surprised that you just found out about our event if you strictly rely on word of mouth.  I am amazed that word of mouth reached these guys at all for our first year but glad it did.

I think most gamers are a very conflicted group of people.  They engage in an inherently social activity but many are naturally anti-social or at least socially awkward.  But they also have a instinctive urge to play more games.  What better place than at a convention?  However, they have no idea or choose to ignore the fact that they are part of a bigger community and don’t choose to plug into that community.   They think by just showing up to a game store and playing a few games, that’s enough.  However, it can reach far beyond that if they are willing to plug in.

Being a small business that has a limited budget, we can only do so much to reach the gamer.  We can send flyers or posters to the game stores, but there is no telling what the store will do with them.  We also spam the heck out of every list, social networking site and web site we can.  But not everyone is plugged in and relies too much on conventional means to find out about things.  How much are you going to pay attention to a flyer or poster in a store that has an array of advertisements for everything.  Can you see our tree in a forest of trees?  That assumes the store actually lays them out.  I respectfully expect any store to act first in their own self-interests and if they do not see any benefit to encouraging their patrons going to our event, then they will just toss our flyers in the trash.  And I don’t blame them.  I am also not saying that it is common, but I know it has happened.

So this con presented us with a problem we have had before but took for granted because our success on the west side of the state.  Reaching the gamers.  It is like we are starting fresh.  We have to hit those game stores harder and reach them in ways we have had to do in a while.

Also, our measure of minimum success needs to be adjusted.  We called MACE West year one a success with a minimum amount of attendance we got.  We got about the same attendance but at a more expensive hotel.  We probably needed about twice the attendance we got to truly call it a true success financially.  However, we do feel like we hit many communities and all will talk us up for next year.  I just wish we had 50 or so more people.

There were some failures and all can be related back to miscommunication and lack of follow-through on both sides of the ball.  Some promises were made by the local game and comic stores that were not followed through with, and it hurt us in places, like our tournaments and our vendor room.  It was disappointing but I understand.  We were too close to the holidays and many could not plan around them.  We are a new thing and it is hard to plan staffing around it.  We heard back from all parties involved and smoothed things over.  We also got emails from other attendees aware of the situation and begged us not to judge the community on these failures.  This was refreshing and we definitely came out of the experience feeling appreciated and wanted.

Wilmington is a great community that is dying for a gaming convention.  It is a great opportunity for us to expand and we will probably continue to do so.  The gaming that tables that made went well. I had a good time and many others said as much as Sunday rolled around.  Overall, I think MACE East has a lot of potential.

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ConCarolinas 2016 D&D Adventurers League Schedule posted!

The ConCarolinas 2016 D&D Adventurers League schedule is posted.  Here is the list of scenarios.  See OGRe for complete schedule

DnD5AL Scenarios

DDEX01-11 – Dark Pyramid of Sorceror’s Isle

DDEX02-03 The Drowned Tower
DDEX02-04 Mayhem in the Earthspur Mines
DDEX02-05 Flames of Kythorn
DDEX02-06 Breath of the Yellow Rose
DDEX02-07 Bounty in the Bog
DDEX02-08 Foulness Beneath Mulmaster
DDEX02-09 Eye of the Tempest
DDEX02-10 Cloaks and Shadows
DDEX02-11 Oublitte of Fort Iron
DDEX02-12 Dark rites of Fort Dalton
DDEX02-13 The Howling Void
DDEX02-14 The Sword of Selfaril
DDEX02-15 Black Heart of Vengeance
DDEX02-16 Boltsmelter’s Book

DDEX03-01 Harried in Hillsfar
DDEX03-02 Shackles of Blood
DDEX03-03 The Occupation of Szith Morcane
DDEX03-04 It’s all in the Blood
DDEX03-05 Bane of the Tradeways
DDEX03-06 No Foolish Matter
DDEX03-07 Herald of the Moon
DDEX03-08 The Malady of Elventree
DDEX03-09 The Waydown
DDEX03-10 Quelling the Horde
DDEX03-11 The Quest for Sporedome
DDEX03-12 Hillsfar Reclaimed
DDEX03-13 Writhing in the Dark
DDEX03-14 Death on the Wall
DDEX03-15 Szith Morcane Unbound
DDEX03-16 Assault on Maerimydra

DDAL04-01 Suits of the Mists
DDAL04-02 The Beast
DDAL04-03 The Executioner
DDAL04-04 The Marionette
DDAL04-05 The Seer
DDAL04-06 The Ghost
DDAL04-07 The Innocent
DDAL04-08 The Broken One
DDAL04-09 The Tempter

About D&D Adventurers League

The D&D Adventurers League is an ongoing official organized play campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. It uses the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, and features the Forgotten Realms setting. You can play D&D Adventurers League games at any place that features adventures bearing the D&D Adventurers League logo. You can create a character and bring that character to games anywhere D&D Adventurers League is supported.

Most D&D Adventurers League games are public, in-person play events. Typical venues for these events are game and hobby stores, conventions, and public-accessible game day events.

See more about the D&D Adventurers League


ConCarolinas 2016

June 03-05 2016
Sci-fi Carolina Style
Embassy Suites Concord
Concord, NC

ConCarolinas is a Client Convention of JustUs Productions.  They have hired JustUs to run their tabletop gaming track.  Anything other questions should be directed to the Convention Committee of ConCarolinas.  See their website for more information.


B-Movie Inspirations: Ice Planet (2001)

Ice Planet (2001)

IcePlanet
IcePlanet

Every once in a while, you will find a gem on Youtube.com that is surprising.  Of course, Youtube has had full length movies for a while.  Recently I decided to explore the sci-fi selection and found a movie that interested me.  It looked pretty cheesy but something about it peaked my interested.  As it turns out, there was more to it than just a cheesy name.

Ice Planet (2001) is a movie pilot that was intended to be a series.  Made by a team of Canadian and German producers, it starred a few actors I recognized and a few I did not.  One part Star Trek: Voyager, one part Battlestar Galactica, and one part Stargate: Atlantis, this pilot had incredible potential and I am highly disappointed that it never made it as a series.

The movie is set is the hundreds of years after a devastating war on Earth.  Humanity has reached out to colonize the solar system.  No alien races have been contacted because it is apparent that faster-than-light travel has not been discovered yet.  We find ourselves on a military base on Io, orbiting Jupiter.  There is a large population of humans on this base, which is part of something called the Union.  The base is commanded by Commander Jonah Trager (Wes Studi) who reminds me of Adama from the new BSG. I really liked the design of their fighters, which resemble Star Wars B-wings but simpler.  They bend and twist in some very interesting ways.

In the beginning, they sort of bounce around some scenes and it is difficult to make sense of it at first.  They quickly introduce the French-accented rogue Han Solo type named Blade. They also introduce a mysterious girl being secretly transported on his vessel and some Jabba The Hutt person he is working for.  Meanwhile, some alien ship shaped cloud is ominously converging on Io.  At the same time, some professor-looking dude (played by Sab Shimono) is speeding towards Io in some huge ship, apparently reading something in a microscopic crystal.

The colony is in chaos as the cloud/ship approaches.  Once the attack begins, it is quite obvious they are outmatched and they proceed to abandon it, launching life pods away from the alien ship.  Some make it to the professor’s ship (which we discover later is called the Magellan). With the aliens in pursuit, the ship performs a strange warp jump orchestrated by the professor (Karteez A. Rumla).  After a psychedelic trip through space and time, the ship drops into unknown space and onto a strange frozen world.  If the strange ship and interstellar jump wasn’t bizarre enough, the ship landing in a landing zone obviously made specifically for it made it even stranger.  This definitely got my attention.

They discover that they have no idea where they are, the stars and constellations are not recognizable and the professor postulates that they could have even traveled not only in space but also in time. The rest of the movie is a standard strangers-in-a-strange land story, with a few interesting plot devices.  The overall pitch of the show was that this professor found an ice planet.

The survivors (a little over 1400) discover a tribe of Native-American-like humans speaking a strange language, an alien crystalline artifact that contains vast knowledge waiting to be tapped and the quiet girl planted in the beginning is connected to the whole thing somehow.  Throughout this time, Rumla has been researching the planet’s orbit, saying the planet is acting more like a ship. This later is proven to be true.

Another alien ship arrives in orbit and the young girl somehow becomes possessed by an alien intelligence and conveys the rest of the story.  With the alien ship looming, the possessed girls speaking in an alien voice says that alien intelligence on this planet sent out messages and the people of the Magellan were the first to reply. It identifies the aliens attacking as the Zedoni.  With some help from the alien intelligence of the planet, they save some captured members of their crew, and fend off the alien ship long enough for us to discover that the planet itself can make a warp jump and appear in an entirely different system

I really liked this idea.  This had so much potential.  This can not only be a RPG adventure but it easily could be an entire campaign or setting.  The production value of the show is about what you would expect for a 2001 sci-fi show.  This was in the era of Babylon 5, Deep Space 9 and Voyager, and was about that level of quality.  The acting was subpar but what you would expect from a show like this.  The aliens were overly CGI’ed and needed to be more practical and tangible.  The CGI was obviously low budget even for its time because it was a little choppy and blurry.  It also was not shot in HD so that made if even more obscured.

For an RPG, the adventure opportunities are endless

  • An alien planet that jumps: This one stands out as one of the biggies.  To get stuck on a world that jumps from one totally different part of the universe to another?  What’s not to like about that?
  • Alien message in a bottle: This has been used in a lot of shows and movies. What does the message contain?  Coordinates?  Ship plans or plans for a gate device?  Genetic codes for alien life forms?  New scientific knowledge?  Again, endless opportunity.
  • Alien tech changing humanity’s destiny: This, of course, is at the core of 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as many other novels and movies.  This never gets old.

Interview with Duncan Davis of Sherwood Games

To start off, tell us about yourself and your history in gaming.

Hello everyone! My name is Duncan Davis and I am a game designer. During the day, I am a Ph. D. Chemical Engineer at North Carolina State University. I work with polymer origami. I am the second of five children and have been playing games like Bridge, Magic the Gathering, and Acquire since I was six years old. I grew up in Rhode Island – the smallest state with the biggest imagination!

Describe Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart for us in the form of an elevator pitch.

Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart is a fast-paced role selection robot building game. Seize control of the Coal Heart and siphon the health of your enemies. Will you stand as the last unbroken champion, or will you fall to the wayside with the rest of the junkyard?

What other games helped inspire Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart?

Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart was inspired by the main mechanic in the game Puerto Rico. It is a role selection, resource management game about building your own little agricultural island nation. I thought that its role selection mechanic would make for a very different feeling fighting game. Role selection means each turn, you get to pick a role that lets everyone do something but for being the one that picked it, you get a perk. I knew I wanted the combatants to upgrade and improve over the course of the game, so robots made perfect sense. Using the expectations inherent in a Robot game, the mechanics of Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart are easy to understand and play wonderfully.

What aspects of Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart do you believe cause it to stand out from other role selection games on the tabletop game market?

Robots stands out from other role selection games because there is a high level of player interaction and the ability to directly impact other players. Most role selection games fall into the Euro game category, but Robots feels more like a hybrid between Euro and American games.

If Robots: Battle for the Coal Heart proves to be successful, are there any expansions you would like to release?

We have an expansion for Robots (pending its success). In the expansion, a bigger threat is looming over the world and the Robots must team up to defeat the newest threat. It transforms the game into a co-op game with various villains for the players to fight against. It adds new parts to each robot and an alternate Coal Heart! The playtesting for the expansion has been quite fun!

Special Guest GM: Christina Stiles

ConCarolinas 2016 Gaming is proud to have the illustrious and inspiring freelance game writer, Christina Stiles, returning to run games for us.

Christina Stiles is a ENnie Award winning freelance role-playing game writer and editor living in upstate South Carolina. She is a member of Misfit Studios, and is Associate Editor for Kobold Quarterly magazine. Her current works include: the Rogue Mage roleplaying game with fiction author Faith Hunter, the Zobeck Gazetteer for Pathfinder, and Streets of Zobeck. Christina has written or edited for Misfit Studios, Open Design, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin Publishing, Atlas Games, and White Wolf Studios, among others.

She will be running Shadow of the Demon Lord by Schwalb Entertainment, LLC.


ConCarolinas 2016

June 03-05 2016
Sci-fi Carolina Style
Embassy Suites Concord
Concord, NC

ConCarolinas is a Client Convention of JustUs Productions.  They have hired JustUs to run their tabletop gaming track.  Anything other questions should be directed to the Convention Committee of ConCarolinas.  See their website for more information.


Dawn Adventures 2: Hell’s Paradise

From: Gypsy Knights Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Dawn Adventures 2: Hell’s Paradise is a RPG Adventure from Gypsy Knights Games.

Following up Dawn Adventures 1, number 2 takes place in the same region, as the name implies.  See my review of the first adventure HERE.  Like the first one, this adventure takes place in an alternate Traveller setting known as Clement Sector and in the frontier region known as the Dawn subsector of the Tranquility Sector.

From page 3: “This book is an adventure based in the alternate Traveller universe which Gypsy Knights Games has been building, known as the Clement Sector”

 The adventure start out much like the previous one with the summary of the Dawn subsector as well as a series of pre-generated characters and a ship for them to use in the adventure.  A perfect setup for a one shot adventure if the GM does not plan to do a campaign.  It’s quite obvious the Gypsy Knights folks have that down.  And I have said this before and I will say it again, these adventures are perfect for conventions games.

The adventure takes place in a system orbiting the star TXE605, on a world called Calliope (TXE605b) by Nordic Exploratory Society.  A brief summary of the system and the world is also presented.  Linked to the first adventure, they party starts off where the last adventure left off, with the ship aiding those that might have been injured in the disaster that took place on Argos Prime.  While on Argos Prime, the players are recruited to help find a lost survey ship bound for TXE605.

From page 3: “The Dawn subsector is located to trailing (or to the right) of the Cascadia Subsector of Clement Sector.”

 The adventure takes the players along the path of the lost ship, starting from Argos Prime to another world called Bicocca (for fuel) and then on to TXE605.  Little happens in Bicocca, which I see as a missed opportunity but a GM can adapt an encounter for the characters if he so wishes.  Onward to TXE605, the players finally learn the fate of the missing ship.

 The rest of the adventure takes place on TXE605b, where mysteriously the oceans teem with life and the land is barren of it.  Without giving too much away, they find a grisly scene and have to investigate into some kind of alien effect on the crew of the missing ship.  They explore the ship (a nice map provided) room by room.

In conclusion, the adventure is fairly straight forward and perhaps a little cliched. It is probably not the best of the series but with a little tweaking, I think the adventure can be fun.  It is very detailed and a GM needs to read it cover to cover to make sure every detail is covered for the players.

For more details on Gypsy Knights Games and their RPG AdventureDawn Adventures 2: Hell’s Paradise” check them out at their website http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 14

Product Summary

Dawn Adventures 2: Hell’s Paradise
From: Gypsy Knights Games
Type of Game: RPG Adventure
Author: George Ebersole
Artists: Bradley Warnes (Cover), Ian Stead, John Watts
Editor: Curtis Rickman
Number of Pages: 46
Game Components Included: One PDF
Game Components Not Included: Core Traveller books/PDF
Retail Price: $5.99(US)
Website: http://www.gypsyknightsgames.com/

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

 

 

Savage Worlds: Throwdown at the North Pole

From: Fabled Environments

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Throwdown at the North Pole is a Savage Worlds adventure from Fabled Environments.

Written by Clint Black of Pinnacle Entertainment Group fame, Throwdown at the North Pole is a silly holiday adventure set in the North Pole on Christmas night.  Leave it to Clint Black to come up with such a funny and silly concept for a Savage Worlds adventure.  It’s a great concept. I could not help but chuckle a little while I read it.

From page 3: The workshops are closed, Santa off on his journey. But there’s no rest for the elves. Santa’s mortal enemies, the abominable snowmen, attack each year as soon as the big man is gone.

This adventure is designed for use with Fabled Environments’ Candy Cane Cottage map, and showcases not only the diversity and ease of Savage Worlds combat system but the detail and elegance of Fabled Environment floor plans.  The mini adventure is simple and does not have a ton of story associated to it.  It is meant to not only show how fun Savage Worlds combat system is but also show you how to use the Mass Combat system or the Showdown Rules, depending on your preferences.

Concept: Mrs. Claus is in charge while Santa is away doing his job on Christmas night.  This is traditionally when Santa’s worst enemies try to take over his shop.  The Abominable Snowman are planning attack this night.  Mrs. Claus along with the elves are left to defend the shop while Santa away.  The players are given a certain amount of time to prepare and several options to set up a defensive perimeter with including Christmas trees and holly bushes.

From page 3: That’s right; the leader of the elves is none other than Mrs. Claus, one of the most formidable holiday warriors on the planet.

Stats for the Snowmen, Elves and Mrs. Clause are provided.  The Snowmen are armed with things like Freezing Weapons and Refrig-Generation, while Mrs. Claus has Combat Candy Cane, Snow Globe Grenades, and a Smore-11 SMG.  The Elves, who scramble to defend the shop when the snowmen are discovered, are armed with things like Toy-Making Mallet,  Fresh-Baked Throwing Cookies, and a K-12 Ice-Salt Rifle with Ice Scraper Bayonet.  Other equipment available include Kringle-7 Light Marshmallow Pistol, Rudolph-6000 Deicer, and a Treat-Mint.  These had me rolling in laughter.

The last page is the map of the workshop, which is surprisingly small – 5″ by 6″ rectangular cottage.  Labeled a “Average Modern Gingerbread Cottage,”  it is where Mrs. Claus and her elves make a last stand.  It makes for a very claustrophobic and tactically challenging combat setting reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead or something like that.

In conclusion, this is a perfect adventure to not only illustrate how fun Savage Worlds combat can be, but also break in a younger crowd to the game.  Nothing is too gory or scary, and kids would love to play elves throwing around explosive snow globes and deadly freshly baked cookies.  If you are brave, you can even provide props.  It can also act as a cool convention games for kids.

For more details on Fabled Environments and their new Savage Worlds Adventure Savage Worlds Adventure” check them out at their website Fabled Environments, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 18

Product Summary

Savage Worlds Adventure

From: Fabled Environments

Type of Game: Savage Worlds Adventure

Written by: Clint Black

Contributing Authors: Jodi Black

Number of Pages: 8

Website: Fabled Environments

Reviewed by: Ron McClung