Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Well, after months of waiting (a bit over a year), the three sets of Warrior Dice that I backed though Kickstarter are now in my hands! The timing of their arrival also coincided with the launch of a new series of dice. More on that later...
So... what are my impressions?
I really like them. Now, having used the Crystal Caste, I'm already accustomed to using polyhedral dice for my gaming that weren't exactly the standard shape. The d4 and d10's for example are mimic more the structure of a crystal than what some of us may be accustomed to seeing. In some ways, most of the dice will roll in similar ways.
The Warrior Dice are themed by taking their design cues from various pieces of arms and equipment. The d4 is a dagger, the d6 is a shortsword, and the d8 is a mace matching the damage dice for those same weapons in games like D&D. The d10's are a pair of gauntlets, the d12 is a helm, and the d20 is a shield. Honestly the d20 is a bit wonky but is balanced and was one of the reasons why the project took a bit longer to fulfill. The first sample / model had issues so it got tweaked and altered to correct this problem.
The plastic itself feels a bit different than a lot of the dice I own though. Each die still has a good weight about it but I suppose it's possible that the handles for the weapons could break in certain special circumstances. To be clear, I'm not talking about standard or heavy use but one were forceful or one of the weapon dice found it's way under the brutal heel of a heavy boot, something could snap. Of course, I suspect a clean break would also be REALLY easy to fix without affecting how it rolls.
Because of the shape of the dice and nature of the material, the dice are NOT tumbled. The means you will also be able to find the sprue marks on the dice if you look closely. However, given how they roll, they will not interfere with the rolling at all. If it bothers you, they are easy to eliminate as they are on game science dice and miniatures.
Are they worth the price tag of $25?
When I backed the project back in 2015, I pledged for 3 sets which set me back $64. Shipping was free so it worked out to $21 and some and some change per set. 2 sets or more also came with a mini card game to use with the dice and each set was shipped in a heavy duty plastic case. The plastic case itself is great and I'd by happy to buy more of these empty cases. They are great for cards or quite a bit of dice! Each case has two compartments and each compartment will hold cards -- even if you use sleeve protectors for them. Needless to say, those who backed the Kickstarter got a better deal.
So, now that I have these sets in my possession, I am very comfortable at the idea of backing a couple of Wizard Dice sets through their second Kickstarter that started up today. Much like the Warrior set, theme is everything and they are look great! The d4 is a bolt, d6 is a fireball, the d8 is a scroll, the d10's are a pair of potions, the d12 is a wand (rod?), and the d20 is an orb. As a kickstarter exclusive, there is also a d2 which is a book in this case. They are also cheaper per set compared to the Warrior set but their is a very small worldwide shipping amount. They are also NOT doing the heavy duty plastic cases which cuts down on shipping costs. Three sets would set me back $48 (after shipping) compared to the $64 I paid for the Warrior set.
If you missed out on the first Kickstarter and don't want to order directly, they will be offering up sets of the Warrior dice as part of the Pledge Manager phase once the campaign is over but you likely won't save much if anything by doing that. Otherwise, you may just prefer wizards over warriors and just check out and pledge for this set instead (over HERE).
Monday, August 8, 2016
Yesterday I posted some info on the latest TLG Kickstarter ending in a couple of days and voiced a bit of concern on the pricing of the leather books and some of the pledge levels. I am very happy to say that my message and question got through and Steve Chenault was able to clarify things at the $125 level and higher. At that level, BOTH books get a complementary upgrade to leather -- meaning there is no need to add $50 to get the Player's Guide in leather to complement the core book.
This is great news and gives that level a lot more value.
If you haven't checked it out yet, you may want to as time is running out!
Here's the LINK if interested. ;)
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Well, around 3 weeks back (give or take), I posted and promoted Troll Lord Game's newest Kickstarter for the Hallowed Oracle -- an adventure path for Castles & Crusades based on the Abyss Walker setting and novels by Shane Moore. You can read up on that HERE. Before the campaign, I hadn't really heard much about the Abyss Walker series but, I recently started reading them and I'm enjoying them. They are a fun, light, and fast-paced read.
Now given TLG's recent Kickstarters were more to do with updating and reprinting past titles, one would think that new material would be doing better in this Kickstarter campaign. That isn't to mean it has done badly either. The minimal goal was $3,000 and the current total currently sits a bit above 11,000. In the past week, there has been minimal gains in the total funding the project has received.
It's might be worth examining *why* it hasn't been doing better.
The belief that it's an adventure path / module and not a sourcebook / accessory.
Well, for some, it may affect how much one decides to back it but there is plenty of material beyond the adventure path for players to enjoy. New classes, optional rules, magic are all promised for this project and higher stretch goals promises even more material.
The belief that you need the C&C Rulebooks to play.
Thankfully, the basic rules and classes (up to level 5) are all there. Since the adventure path takes characters up to level 5, one has everything they need to play in the Hallowed Oracle books. That said, there are opportunities to add some of the other C&C books in with the Kickstarter at reduced prices. However, the best thing to remember is that C&C is very compatible to D&D and other similar, FRPGs. It would take minimal effort to port this adventure path to your 5th Edition game for instance.
The problem of not knowing anything about Shane Moore or the Abyss Walker books.
Well, this one is fairly easily fixed. He has an author section on Amazon.com which can be found HERE where you can easily pick up on of his books. They are available as an ebook (Kindle) or you can get a physical copy if you are so inclined. However, picking up an ebook now and reading it (or at least starting it) can give you a taste of what the Abyss Walker setting is all about. There are several to choose from. Naturally, Google is your friend if you need to find more info. ;)
There doesn't seem to be much activity in this Kickstarter.
Yeah. That's a problem.
Let me assure you that TLG have done many Kickstarters in the past and have ALWAYS delivered the goods. And, normally they are bit more talkative but they chose to start this shortly before GenCon. Why oh why, did they do this? Sometimes it's best not to ponder what goes on in their minds. Perhaps this was the best they could manage with the rest of their publishing schedule? Perhaps they thought they could manage both and really overestimated their capacity to do so? Many of the present backers are already loyal fans so a lot of the pledging happened early on. But Shane Moore himself has been active as have been a couple other people. If you are interested, pledge at the lowest level and feel free to ask questions there and participate. Hopefully that will dive up chatter and interest in the project. When that happens, we all win.
Some of the things seem expensive.
Unfortunately, I don't agree with all the pricing I've been seeing and I think a slightly different strategy could have been employed here. But gaming books *ARE* expensive and they are only getting more expensive. A couple years ago, WOTC released the Players Handbook for the newest edition of D&D with a price tag of $49.95. Fifty bucks for a book is pretty expensive but it is a full colour hardback with a page count of about 300 pages. Generally speaking, Troll Lord Games has always been VERY good about pricing but the reality is that it costs what it costs. In comparison, the C&C PHB is $30 (190 page, full colour, hardback) and the C&C CKG is $50 (352 page, full colour, hardback).
At $40, you get the main book in hardcover which is going to be over 200 pages (but in B/W) along with a Player's Guide which has changed considerably since the project began and likely to be at least 90 pages. There is also and expanded map, PDFs, and a bonus adventure. The Player's Guide is *not* in hardcover at this level -- only a perfect bound softcover. You'll need to boost you pledge to $59 to get the PG in hardcover as well. But at this level there are a couple more physical items thrown into the package. Now, I describe the pricing at these levels as fair but not great but I can't fault them to not giving the PG the hardcover treatment at the $40 pledge level either.
But the pricing for the leathers honestly irks me. They have a level at $125 that gives you leather copy of the core book as well as a regular copy of the main book and the players guide. The players guide is NOT in leather. Apparently a leather copy of that means an add-on of $50. So at $175 total, you get a regular set and a leather set. However, unless my math is mistaken, you get can achieve the same with a $59 pledge and then add-on the two leather books at $50 each for $159 total! The only thing you don't get is a special stretch goal where you get to immortalize a character in print but that goal is just shy of $5000 from even being unlocked with only 3 days left to go! Unless those $50 leather add-ons are merely UPGRADING your books and that makes a lot more sense but this also goes to the previous problem with not a lot of people asking questions getting communication from the company regarding the project. It would make for an expensive book but, leather isn't cheap to begin with either. ;)
So... summing up?
There is a LOT of potential with this project with a few questions and not a lot of answers. If this projects hits $16,000 before it closes, a lot more cool material will be added thanks to the talents of James Ward and another book will be added to the bunch. It will focus on the various gods and heroes of the setting and only serve to give it a bit more depth. The enthusiasm from Shane Moore is also very encouraging to see and, with the game system bits being largely written by Jason Vey, the project and material is in good hands. GenCon is pretty much over and this project is soon to follow.
Now is the time to step up and pledge over HERE!
The 9-5 gig is really wearing me down these past couple of months and I'm hoping things will improve for the better. I could probably use a nice vacation but, with present circumstances, won't be able to really get away this year. So, I still need to get back to regular painting (my miniatures), and get back to some of my writing and publishing projects. The book I am editing is about to get a lot more of my attention this month so that I can wrap that project up in order to tackle other longstanding ones.
So, as these dog days of summer begin to wind down later this month, I'm hoping to ramp up things on the creative end of the spectrum. :)
Speaking of winding down, GenCon is wrapping up today and it looks like it was a lot of fun. I'm so sorry that I couldn't go this year but am committed to next year's event! A few noteworthy kickstarters are also wrapping up but... there are ALWAYS kickstarters wrapping up. A couple in particular are worth mentioning... there is the Hallowed Oracle adventure path for Castles & Crusades which can be found HERE and, if you are an Evil Dead fan and like boardgames, you may want to check this campaign wrapping up HERE. I'll have more to say on the latest C&C campaign in my next post.
Well, I have several things left on my to-do list before the reset button is pushed and the cycle begins a new tomorrow. Need to get to it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Normally, the focus of my Weekend R&R are to review a single RPG product -- be it old or new. But we all have different ways to unwind and I recently decided to shift towards the Call of Cthulhu RPG and, given that the time I can actually get a game together is surprisingly challenging due to either time restraints and scheduling, I will find other ways to occupy my leisure hours. I love a good board game and, with my current frame of mind, The Doom That Came To Atlantic City had a lot of the trappings I am currently immersing myself with as far as theme is concerned.
If you are someone who has followed various projects or gone as far as back some on Kickstarter, the title of the game may sound familiar. A Lovecraftian themed boardgame which took many cues from the classic game of Monopoly which raised over $120,000 in 2012 only to have the project cancelled and the money disappear.
Never underestimate the power of the great old ones though. Another company stepped in, secured the rights, and produced the game. They even went so far as to get backers of the original project copies of the game -- something they were not required to do but awesome nonetheless. I was never a backer though. I missed the campaign when it ran and stumbled upon it after it had already ended. With the delays and problems, I eventually secured my own copy of the game only just recently. Part of the reason I waited on it was because it's a pricey game but the components of the game and high quality and the game proved to be a light-hearted distraction.
In many ways, the game plays in a very familiar way but, it is very much 'anti-monopoly'. Your goal, as one of the elder gods, isn't to build, but rather destroy. Power (through destruction) and cultists are the currency of the game and when you have accumulated enough of both and succeed in opening the requisite amount of gates, you can bring about the end of the world and win the game.
It's a simple game and, unlock Monopoly, it will not last you hours. It is entirely possible to play a game under an hour though, I've had a couple which went on to about an hour and a half. Luck is very much a factor here too and the dice can be fickle. However, you aren't just constrained to moving around the board. You can use gates to travel to other gates and bypass sections of the board. You also can attack your opponents and steal cultists away from him as well as rain destruction and destroy homes. Each elder god also has abilities which can be swapped out with other ones with Providence Cards and then are are 'Chant' cards to assist you as well. And, because of this added dynamic, there is a bit of strategy to go along with the random luck factor of the dice.
The game is good in the sense that the style and theme of the game is actually well-thought out in a cute kind of way and doesn't feel like it's just been tacked on. But the game also manages to remain accessible. So, between that and the visuals, the game just works and will be one that will get pulled out from time to time -- especially if I'm waiting on the late arrival of a player before we can start up a Call of Cthulhu game.
Now, I was lucky as the normal retail price goes for around $75 from what I have seen. I basically was able to get it for a little more than half that price. Given the quality of the components, and the beautiful sculpts of the miniatures included in the box, it is well worth the full price of the game. Just shop around first.