What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook - 7th Print Edition

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Memories of Nin-Gonost

In yesterday's post entitled 'Mazes & Migraines', I mentioned these magnetic floor tiles I had from a game that failed to use in my effort to streamline my dungeoneering experience for my players -- especially where mapping was concerned.  For the life of me, I couldn't remember the name of the game which had tremendous potential so I had to look into it and dig it out from my closet when I got home.  The name of the game was Nin-Gonost.

Nin-Gonost was an ambitious project, one that I may have mentioned before in my blog or in a couple of posts dating back a few two or three years.  The game itself seems to have been released in 2004-2005.  The set came fully loaded and included a bunch of magnetic floor and wall tiles, 14 unpainted pewter miniatures (4 heroes and 10 orcs) along with some pewter coffins and doors, a crapload of dice (these are 6-sided but non-standard), a brush, some paints, rulebook, character cards, and a wooden carrying case.  The title of the game was elvish for 'Fortress of Tears'.

I came across the game pretty much by accident.  Every year, (arguably) the largest FLGS in Montreal has a clearance sale in the summer.  Games, books, and a variety of gaming odds and ends gets 'dumped' on a couple of large tables with clearance-level pricing.  A few years back (I'd say 2010 give or take a year), I came across an open blister pack that contained these plastic dungeon-floor tiles which could be combined in a variety of ways to create the floor areas you needed with the added bonus of having small magnets along the edges to enable you to keep these sections together.  The blister pack was complete, but there were just a few sections in the pack.  Having never heard of this product before, I approached one of the staff who explained that it was part of a game that came out but never took off.  Fortunately, he had the case pretty much forgotten up on a self that the store had as a demo.  The case was complete and we negotiated a price.  I can't recall the exact price I paid for it but it was FAR LESS than what the game originally sold for.  I think this was one of the major stumbling blocks of the project -- at $150, it was a steep entry price regardless of the quality of materials.  I probably ended up paying one-third of that price knowing full well that the tiles and wall sections were potentially gaming gold as far as I was concerned.  The rest of it was pure bonus.

Looking through the book, and the dice, I couldn't help be understand another reason why the game may have not done as well as it could have.  There are 25 different dice in the kit, but none of these are standard though they do look nice.  Some are are 'dual dice'... some are 'fate dice' ... and some are 'accuracy dice'.  Depending on the color of the dice, the values range from -1 to 10.  The book had simple rules as well as rules for advanced play and while certain things seemed awesome, other things seemed needlessly complicated with the included dice system.  Admittedly, the way the fate die could work for or against you was pretty cool and potentially deadly.  The book also contained a variety of scenarios and dungeon configurations.  The wall pieces were also necessary as line of sight was also important to the game.  All in all, interesting enough but despite having all I need to play (and who knows, maybe one day I will), this box represented resources only for me.

That said, my on and off attempts at actually running a game in my campaign has been hit or miss due to schedule constraints and Nin-Gonost was largely left alone.  The last time I pulled out the box was about a year-and-a-half ago when I pulled out the paints to give to someone else (I didn't like them) and the orc miniatures which I actually painted (three of which can be seen below).

I never used the dungeon and wall tiles for the purpose I had originally intended but I think I finally need to get about doing it.  At the same time, being a boring grey color, I think I might actually touched them up with some shading before I use them for the first time.

Sadly, the game is no-more and the company collapsed.  There is a thread (not too long) that gives you an idea of the circumstances of the rise and fall of the company that produced this game over HERE.  I am happy to have gotten the set and the one blister pack when I did and occasionally, I even search for more.  I certainly have plenty for my needs of course, at least for now and until I cave and 'upgrade' to Dungeon Forge'.  But before I even think about that, I need to figure out if this is something I and my players will enjoy the next time we venture into some sort of Dungeon Crawl.