What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook - 3rd Printing

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mail Call: Good Things Come In Three's

Last Thursday, I was very happy to receive my package from Italy.  I posted here about it shortly after midnight.  A day later, another package was waiting for me and, after a busy weekend, a another delivery of two small packages!

Three packages in almost as many days.

Classic Fantasy is what was waiting for me on Friday and, fortunately for me, no one else walked off with the package when the UPS guy decided to leave it on the floor of my building lobby!!!  I have fallen in love with this book.  While technically not a stand alone book, it roots to the BRP system and RuneQuest run very deep.  Right now I'm running some 7E Call of Cthulhu and have always had a soft spot for the system and was thinking about doing a fantasy game using the same system (thanks in part to the Dark Ages sourcebook with bits from the BRP Rulebook book to help.  This books goes a step further and give me a way to get a D&D experience with a BRP ruleset.  By doing so, it has just armed me with so much stuff from D&D that I can terrorize my Call of Cthulhu players (not that the game is lacking in that department).  Classic Fantasy is a sourcebook of Mythras which is RuneQuest 6 with the serial numbers filed off.  From what I have seen of it, I actually prefer it to RuneQuest.  So, despite the fact that I have been slimming down my gaming collection the past few years, I'll be acquiring Mythras for the books shelf at some point.

Next up was these four miniatures from Antediluvian Miniatures.  When I saw this familiar looking group, I knew I *had* to have them.  And if they don't seem familiar to you, I suggest it's time to load up and watch the Princess Bride!  We have Inigo Montoya, Fezzik, Vizzini, and Westley (the Dread Pirate Roberts) of course.  Due to the scale of the miniatures, Fezzik isn't as imposing as he should be compared to one of the D&D mini's slightly bigger 'heroic scale' but will look impressive enough against 28mm Reaper mini's!

And last, but not least... some dice!  In this case... small dice!  16mm dice (if I'm not mistaken) and I only have a black set (someplace).  It was a great way to test and try out Massdrop.  Besides, you can never have too many dice!  ;)

I'm expecting at least one other package in the days ahead but beyond that, I don't think I'll have many other surprises between now and the holidays.  I'll be sure to give a much more in-depth analysis of Classic Fantasy as well as a better look at the latest edition of Call of Cthulhu having now run a few sessions.  The short version, I like it a lot but there are still a couple little things that could use a bit more thought and tweaking.  More to come!


Friday, October 14, 2016

Mail Call and Signs of Life

What happened to September... the rest of August... and what do you mean we're almost halfway through October!?

Things have been busy around here.  I certainly lost track of time though.  I am doing a bit of work on some projects as well as continuing to 3D print and paint here and there.  At least when I can manage it.  More significantly, I have been subjected to more dental surgury in the form of a significant bonegraft.  Rest assured, I draw breath still.  ;)

But things are still coming in -- be it books or miniatures.  Today this came in the mail for me:

Inspired by 'Stranger Things', that Netflix series veryone was (and still are) talking about, I was happy to find the 'infamous' demogorgon. Mirliton Fantasy now owns some of the old Grenadier molds and happened to have this particular model in stock but between the diversion from the Euro, the shipping from Italy, and the minimum order amount, it wasn't cheap.  Still too cool to pass up though.  Since there was a minimum purchase amount, demogorgon was accompanied by a friend -- a rather small Cthulhu!

I am very pleased with these and, despite the expense, will likely to order a few more things in the future.  The only question now is how I am going to paint demogorgon.  I am a bit tempted to paint it in a style that is reminiscent of the series and keep it a but simple.  Guess we'll have to see.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mail Call: Warrior Dice!

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.

At their regular price, $25 is still a decent price given the case that comes with them.  Shipping from PolyHero Dice is very reasonable as well.  You can find them HERE.

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).

Happy Gaming!


Monday, August 8, 2016

A Leather Oracle...

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

An Oracle Stares Into The Abyss...

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!