All posts tagged 'Unplugged'

Reader Review: Dungeons and Dragons: Family Time or Bad News?

I’ve never been able to get into Dungeons and Dragons or any tabletop role playing game, really.  Too much math for my tastes.  That’s why I just stick to Final Fantasy games.  And even then just the old school ones.  But most of my other brothers really like Dungeons and Dragons.  For instance, my brother Jeff once ran a long running DnD group at his local library.  And another one of my brothers, Benjamin Woodham, wrote this neat article I’d like to share here.  So please read his article below. –Cary

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Unplugged: Pac-Man: The Card Game

As many of you may already know, I’m a huge fan of Pac-Man.  So when I saw this Pac-Man card game, I had to get it and try it out!  I don’t know how long it’s been out, I got it on sale at Amazon for 5 bucks.  But I figured I’d review it anyway.

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One More Quest (Tabletop RPG)

One More Quest is a unique entry into the world of tabletop role playing games.  When I say it is a dice-chucking RPG, I mean it LITERALLY is a dice-chucking game.  The value of the die rolled is not as important as where it lands on the table.  Players must toss one or more 6 sided dice onto the table, trying to get them to land in the center of a target ring.  Rolls closer to the center represent a better outcome.  As with most RPGs, players create characters with abilities and skills which give them advantages to specific situations.  What brings particular levity to the game is the requirement that players must toss their dice in a certain way, depending on the situation.  Are you doing a stealth check? Make your roll crouching low to the table?  Some sort of intelligence check? Bounce it off your forehead, etc..  Players’ skills provide bonuses, but also incur a “cost” such as a ranged attack requiring rolls from a step away from the table.  These can be combined so one might end up rolling extra dice with bonuses, but throw them backwards, with your off hand, and they must bounce twice before hitting the target.  Clearly the game is not going to provide a dark, long-term strategic RPG, however it can provide a night of hilarity as long as everyone knows what they’re getting into.  I’m posting a note about the game because it is currently up on Kickstarter for just a few more days.  If it sounds like it might be your cup of tea, feel free to check it out!   Read on to find further thoughts I’ve had about the free playtest copy that is available.

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Holidays with D&D 2021 – School, Dragons, and a Carnival

Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game, had its sights set for the holiday season releasing three new big books in only four months. There’s a little something for everyone. Strixhaven provides a setting for gamers to play the role of students progressing through four years of a magic school. Fizban’s Treasury is all about dragons – including the return of gem dragons. Finally, Wild Beyond the Witchlight is a low level adventure leading into the fairy-land of the Feywild. Despite the bevy of titles on offer, they each bring something unique to the table and odds are high that at least one would be a great fit for a player or perhaps a GM on your list.

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Unplugged: GamerDad Holiday Guide 2021

Happy Holidays! Boardgaming continues to make inroads to wider audiences, and there’s no better time to get (or get your friends and family) into the hobby than an extended holiday break. It is yet another “unusual” year so there may not be as much mixing in your neck of the woods but there are boardgames out there to meet up with almost any taste. If you only have access to online gaming buddies, check out BoardGameArena.com or TableTopia.com. Boardgames are timeless, just as good today as they will be years in the future, so a purchase today will still be serving you well after the lockdowns go away. As we at GamerDad have done for the past 18+ years, it’s time for an annual rundown of recent boardgames well worth your time. Feel free to delve into some past year’s guides for 2020, 2019, 2018, or older as they’re still great candidates for your consideration. You might not find all these titles at your local mega-mart but many can be found online or in a friendly local game store. Some may argue $60+ boardgames are expensive, but compare that to video gaming (and where multiple copies are required for multiplayer play) and the economics of boardgaming shows their true value. For each game I’ve provided the publisher (to help you find it), an approximate MSRP (you might find it lower), the number of players, the expected time for one game, and the manufacturer’s recommended ages (and I would say most of these could easily be skewed lower for experienced younger gamers.

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D&D Plushies: Cuddly & Deadly

I recently received a box of miniature figurines from Wizkids, and hiding among the packing material was a surprise bonus of four little Dungeons and Dragons plushies. The line of stuffed “animals’ ‘ is officially called Dungeons & Dragons: Phunny Plush by Kid Robot. They are cute and are an excellent representation of some of the most unique, entertaining, and possibly deadly inhabitants of the D&D universe. The four of them are currently guarding my desk for me at school. With the holiday season approaching, I thought I’d pass on a brief rundown on them in case there’s someone in your life who needs something soft to protect their stocking or bed.

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The Lazy Dungeon Master (Tabletop RPG Book)

As a big fan of the 80/20 method (80% of the results come from 20% of the effort) although I am want to abuse it and try to just do that 20% of the work and get 80% of the results. On a good day, I like to think I can even pull off a 10/90.. Well, running a role-playing campaign, especially one that isn’t just straight out of a book, is a daunting challenge. There are so many pitfalls and rabbit-holes to fall down that preparing for a session can suck up whatever time you have to spend. For several years, Michael Shea has run a blog giving advice on running an RPG campaign. Favoring the less if more approach, he’s covered topics like The Minimum Viable D&D Game or Running Combat in the Theater of the Mind. After a few years he put together a book called The Lazy Dungeon Master to package all of his advice into one book. Recently, he kickstarted a revised edition of the book as well as a companion workbook entitled Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and The Lazy DM’s Workbook. He’s back again with a Kickstarter ending very soon, with The Lazy DM’s Companion. The new book is a mix of advice for specific types of situations (one on one games, zone based combat, creating secrets and clues, etc…) as well as a bunch of tables to help trigger new ideas and tools to help make a game more interesting while keeping things running smoothly. I thought I’d take a moment to give my thoughts on the first two books in the series.

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Gloomhaven (PC, MacOS, Boardgame)

Several years ago, Glooomhaven burst onto the boardgame scene to wide acclaim.  Quickly selling out and then reprinted, this boardgame currently sits at number 1 on the Boardgame Geek list of all-time best boardgames.  It is a beast of a game, weighing in at about 20 pounds of cardboard, cards, and plastic miniatures.  While the heart of the game comes in tactical battle scenarios, playable in an hour or two, the overarching story includes role-playing aspects like character growth and branching storylines to provide gamers with upwards of 150 hours of game time. As a “legacy game” the game includes envelopes and boxes that are sealed at first and are opened up as the game is played.  While it has won the hearts of many gamers, a common complaint is simply how much time it takes to set up a new scenario.  Cue… a digital version.  Gloomhaven is now available in digital form on Steam and GoG. 

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5th Evolution – Carbide City (RPG)

Tabletop role-playing games continue to grow in popularity, with hipster/influencer/famous folks taking it up and thus rubbing off on their followers. Growth in RPGs of all systems and genres are on an upward trajectory. The default is good old swords and sorcery with blade-wielding armsmen and spellslingers going toe to toe with monsters of all types. Other genres exist out there (horror, western, modern/spy, etc…) but one of the hardest to pin down is a game where the players take on the role of superheroes. My personal favorite system, Champions, does a superb job of letting a player create exactly the hero they want while also keeping the power level between characters fairly balanced. However, Champions is also called an RPG for accountants and its combats are not for the faint of heart. The 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons is the most popular game out there at the moment and folks have tried to adapt that system into all sorts of new genres. Folks over at Limitless Adventures are attempting to fuse 5th Edition rules with superhero stories and characters, calling the new rules 5th Evolution (or 5evo for short.).

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Unplugged: Spintronics – Electrical Circuits via Belts and Gears

Spintronics is a mechanical model of electrical circuits using gears and belts to simulate the flow of electricity. As the final hours of the Spintronics kickstarter winds down (act fast), I thought I’d take a moment to comment on the possibilities of the nifty system.  I’m fairly enthusiastic about its possibilities. At a later date I’ll provide my thoughts on its older brother, Turing Tumble, which simulates computer logic circuits using small metal balls falling through see-saws.

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