Sunday, July 31, 2011

KGS Podcast - Episode 00026 - Battleship Galaxies Box Opening

Sam and Old Brian open the Battleship Galaxies Starter Set.

Online Fash Games Week 11: Coffee Shop

This game was recomended to me by my friend Groupe. It was a game we both played while in Computer Literacy when we finished our work. It was a simple game, that he could never beat my high score. Coffee Shop is one of those games that you play to kill time, unless you have asperations of opening a coffee stand . Then take this as a tutorial.

The goal in Coffee Shop is to make as much money from your coffee stand as possible in 14 days. To do this, you need to buy ingredients and to set the recipe. You must buy cups, sugar, milk, and of course coffee. Your recipe determines how much coffee, sugar, and milk goes into each cup that is made. The more ingredients you have, the more people will like you coffee, and the higher you can charge for it. But this means you need to buy more ingredients as well.

During the game, several factors impact whether people will buy your coffee. The price of your coffee, the temperature, and your reputation. Your reputation can rise and fall depending how people like your coffee after they have purchased it. If they cost was high and you don't have many ingredients, they won't like it. But if you have alot of ingredients, then they'll like it. The better the reputation, the more people will want to buy your coffee and the more you can charge for it.

There are some gripes I have with this game. First, they don't give some kind of idea as to what people would find as acceptable for ingredients or for prices. Though this is a game that figuring this out is part of the fun. The other gripe is where in the name of God is this town? The temperature goes from 85 degrees down to 26 in 1 day! There must be something wrong with the town, since the pope shows up once in the later levels sometimes.

But I do feel this is a good game.While the genre isn't really up my alley, its still a fun and somewhtat challenging game. Its deffinatly enough fun when stuck inside school. If anyone can break my high score of $425, let me know! I'll make sure to tell Groupe how much he sucks at this game.

Coffee Shop was developed by Armor Games Inc.

Play Coffe Shop here at:

Leave a comment on this post or send me an email or Facebook message if YOU have a game you would like to see reviewed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gary Gygax Birthday Today

Gary Gygax 'Father of Role Playing Game' born on this day - July 27.
He failed his last saving throw in 2008.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marvel RPGs #10 - "Energy Stones"

The is the third and final Marvel RPG. The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game was released in 2003 by Marvel, not a third party gaming developer. That was perhaps mistake number one.

RPG MarvelUniverseRPG cover.jpg

Mistake number two was making this a diceless game. The last diceless Marvel RPG was not well received by the fans. This mechanic is almost WORSE. At least in the last Marvel RPG there was a random element - cards. In this RPG, there is no random element at all. It's resource allocation - putting colored "stones" into attack, defense, and energy categories (plus or minus situational modifiers).

I'll give them credit - they weren't afraid to put out something completely different. They really tried to recreate the "feel" of a comic book - even using terms such as "panel" and "page" to define time. But the rules fail as a RPG on almost every level.

The books themselves look nice (there were only ever three of them). They cram a lot into a slim book. Ultimately, however, this system is too flimsy to make for a fun RPG game. Compared to the D100 system, this RPG is a laughable imitator.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Online Flash Games, Week 10: Kitten Cannon

First off, don't judge me. Just because I like this game does not mean I am cruel to animals. Just because shooting a kitty out of a cannon and him hitting explosives and into spikes or venus fly traps is amusign to me, it doesn't meanI'm sick. I'm just a tiny bit twisted in my sense of humor. Just try it and I'm sure you might like it. But sadly you can't turn off the sound effects, which might be the worst part.

In Kitten Cannon, you shoot a kitten out of a cannon. The red bar on the side of the cannon shows the force to be used in the shot.The barrel of the gun can be raised and lowerd to how you see fit. After that, the game randomly generates objects along the ground or in the air to help you or stop you. The goal in this game is to get the kitten as far as possible, which is very much in the hands of the game after firing.

There are five types of objects in two catergories. The ones that help you are boxes of explosives, bombs tyed to balloons in the air, or trampolines. The other two that stop you as soon as you hit them are spikes and the venus fly trap. Avert you eyes if squeamish of blood, because there's alot of it when the kitten hits the spikes. In addition, hitting the bare ground slows you down.

While I like this game, there is one major problem I have with Kitten Cannon. And I don't mean the moral one. This game is ver ymuch up to chance after playing it. So you just sit back and even if you got a creat shot the game can spawn a fly trap and snatch you out of the air after 50ft. There's a game similar to this one that lets you through some things at the target to keep it moving. This game doesn't let you do that. But it was made in 2005, so I guess that idea hadn't crossed the developer's mind. As I said, its a fun game. But parents, I'd say not let you children under the age of 6 play this game. Scott, that means you.

Kitten Cannon came from the sick mind of Dan Fleming.

Play Kitten Cannon (for all you dog people out there) at

Send me an email of message on Facebook if there's a game you'd like me to review.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marvel RPGs #9 - Saga System

Well, what can I say about the second Marvel RPG game that uses the SAGA system? Ummm... it's different. And fans hated it.

This is a diceless game. Diceless games RARELY go over well with gamers (can you think of one)? Instead, this game uses a deck of "fate cards" to resolve all conflicts. I could tell you that you got to have more fate cards in your hand the more experienced your character was but who really cares. Cards wear out and become marked with frequent use. Dice are a lot more durable. Who wants to have to buy replacement cards when theirs wear out? Not I, for one. At least they weren't collectible *cough* DnD *cough*.

The Marvel game that uses this system is officially called The Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game. To my knowledge, the only materials published for it were the items pictured above (minus the Hero Clix). To make matters worse, there was a Marvel comic called Marvel Saga which made the name of this roleplaying game confusing to some and hard to search for on the internet.

I don't currently own a copy of this game and, even though it sucks, I would like to since I have almost every other Marvel RPG book. You know what sucks? This thing goes for over $100 on ebay! Because nobody bought this game it's now RARE! How about that kick in the pants!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Marvel RPGs #8 - D100 Online - The Best of the Rest

Here are some other noteworthy websites dedicated to the Marvel D100 system: - The creators of this website must really know their superhero RPGs. They have listed conversion charts from most major superhero RPG systems into Marvel D100. Lots of other information is presented, including information originally available only from Dragon Magazine in the Marvel-Phile. Very well done. - This website has a unique focus. It is purely devoted to charting the alternate realities in (and out) of the Marvel Multiverse. World write-ups and character stats are provided. So when the players, say, get their hands on Doctor Doom's Time Machine or travel to other realities, this website is there to help out the Judge in need! provides character write-ups and stats from dozens of non-Marvel properties, formatted for  the D100 system. The Marvel Database is always a useful tool for clarifying continuity or character questions.

So there you have it! A basic beginner's guide to Marvel D100 on the web!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Marvel RPGs #7 - D100 Online - Ben Riely's Marvel RPG Page

Ben Riely's Marvel RPG page is special to me for a number of reasons.

1) My son is named after Spider-Man's clone, Benjamin Reilly.
2) It is THE website to go to for up-to date Marvel D100 character write-ups.
3) I don't know where he gets dozens and dozens of these character icons or if he makes them but they're really cool:

I mean, seriously! Those things are SICK!

Benjamin Riely's Marvel RPG Page is a bit of an oddity, actually. Ben comes across as being a bit young to have played the Marvel D100 RPG when it was originally released. He claims to have only played the Marvel D100 RPG twice with a friend that moved away! It must have made a big impact on him!

Ben's website literally updates character's stats and standings in real-time. For example: The Fantastic Four became The Fantastic Foundation so Ben came up with new profiles for all of the related characters to reflect this change. He keeps the old profiles on there. This was really helpful to me when I ran a Marvel Civil War era game. Since there was no officially produced character stats for, say, the Sentry or Ronin I went to Ben's website and found them. Ben's inexperience with the system shows sometimes. His "Cape Killer" stats, for example, were a little too overpowered to reflect the actual characters.

Still, Ben Riely's Marvel RPG Page is hands-down among the top Marvel D100 resource websites. Fantastic job, Ben!

Two RPG Games I am Really Looking Forward To

The One - Role Playing in the World of Middle Earth

Smaug has been defeated, the Battle of Five Armies has been won, and Bilbo has returned to the Shire. In the relative peace, the Free People of Wilderland look beyond their borders for the first time, establishing trade routes, renewing bonds between their cultures, and bringing prosperity to the region of northern Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountain, and the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains.

But much danger still remains, and from the Orc-holds of the mountains to the dark and corrupt depths of Mirkwood a darkness waits, recovering its strength, laying its plans, and slowly extending its shadow . . . .

•The new roleplaying game based on The Lord of the Rings—the most influential property in fantasy

•Set after the events of The Hobbit; future core game releases will expand the game to the era of the War of the Ring

It’s 2150, and the Earth’s starting to get over the Great Apocalypse of 1906. From the steampunk sky-cities of Isla Aether and High Tortuga, airship pirates ply the clouds, in search of excitement and booty, kept in check only by the might of the Imperial Air Navy.

Down below, North America is a wilderness, its beast-haunted wastelands criss-crossed by the tracks of the freedom-loving Neobedouins and the armoured railroads that connect the Emperor’s widely scattered domains.

In the walled, smog-shrouded cities, people huddle in forced Victorian squalor, lorded over by the upper classes, while the Emperor’s clockwork policemen patrol the streets and the ultimate threat of the Change Cage hangs over those who would rebel.

You’ve got yourself an airship. You’ve got yourself a crew. You’ve got yourself one of Doctor Calgori’s fancy chronominautilus devices. All you need now is a good swig of rum (trust us, you’ll need it), and you’re ready to set sail on the winds of time and plunder history itself!

Who knows, maybe you can screw up the timeline some more?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Online Flash Games, Week 9: Territory War

Sorry about this week's late post, but what's one day between friends? Anyway, this week's game is about territory, war, and stick figures. Territory War on has been played 36,675,613 times in the 5 years since being created, and I was one of the first to play it. Its a trip down memory lane for me.

The objective in Territory War is to kill the other team's players using an infinite amount of grenades, bulles, and boots. Each stick figure can either move or stay for their first action. If move, they move wherever the player wants and then attacks for their second action. If you chose stay, then you just attack. The grenade is useful for lobbing long range, the gun for medium range, and kicking for close range. Each character has 100 health, and depending on how and where they are shot health decreases.

There is no score or points in this game, you just play for the fun of it. You can play the campaign and unlock all 10 missions, a challenge, or a custom battle where you can play against a friend. The instructions are underneath the options bar. The game does a great job of explainging the game, flashing a white bar where they are explaing what it is or does.

There are a couple problems I have with territory war. It might just be my comupter, but the controls don't always respond exactly. This can be a major pain in a heavily movement based game. The other problem is that there is no overall goal to accomplish. No score, no points, nothing. That could be an issue with some people.

But as far as I am concerned this is an old favorite of mine; so long as the controls work. There is one objectiveI can think of though: to have stupid, violent fun. If you don't understand that, then I think most video games are not for you. And we clearly have different ideas of fun.

Territory War was created by Shawn Tanner and produced by Territory War was sponsered by

Play Territory War here:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Marvel RPGS #6 - D100 Online - Classic Marvel Forever

Even though it has been out of print for twenty years or so, the classic Marvel RPG still has an extremely strong fan following. Along with this fan following comes a strong internet presence. The next several posts in this series will highlight a number of prominent sites dedicated to the classic Marvel RPG.

First up is Classic Marvel Forever at This website is quite impressive. A good deal of the material written here is actually written by the same people the wrote parts of the original game, notably the Super Heroes Handbook. You have Addendas (which are like unofficial erratas) and rules clarifications that are very helpful.

There are a ton of house rules listed on this site.There's information about technology in the Marvel Universe, D20 conversions and much, much more.

One of the favorite things of fans of a system, especially a dead system, is to keep it current. You'll find tons of updates for characters that were created after the classic Marvel RPG ceased publication such as the Sentry or Echo. You'll also find character updates for old characters like Iron Man in his Extremis armor or Spidey in his Marvel Civil War costume.

In addition to this material, there's plenty of non-Marvel material using the classic Marvel resolution system. Like the D100 table but you're a fan of DC? No problem - they've got stats for Superman, Batman and the lot at Classic Marvel Forever. The same is true for Dark Horse and Image comics characters as well. You could do your own inter-company crossover using the information provided at Classic Marvel Forever! There are even stats for other properties such as Akira and Final Fantasy.

Classic Marvel Forever is one of the premier websites for information regarding the D100 Marvel RPG system.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

KGS Upgrades Equipment Again

In order to give our listeners the greatest listening experience possible we have once again upgraded our equipment. Our next podcast will make use of our NEW YETI PRO microphone.

Let us know what you think of our full stereo sound?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Marvel RPGs #5 - D100 Ultimate Powers Book

Perhaps the greatest book published for the Marvel Super Heroes (Classic Marvel D100) RPG is the Ultimate Powers book. This is an entire book with nothing in it buy descriptions of super powers. If any one book from the classic Marvel RPG transcends Marvel and the Marvel RPG itself it is this book. This book is still heralded as the most comprehensive listing of all superpowers.

Let's take teleportation as an example. Seems simple enough - disappear from one spot and reappear in another spot. Not so. You have various methods of teleportation. Do you travel through another dimension, is it a folding of reality, or do you create wormholes? There are also a variety of restrictions and potential limitations. Can you teleport others with you? Can you only teleport other objects? Can you take inorganic matter with you (your clothes, etc.)? Can  you teleport to other dimensions or time periods? How far can you teleport? Are there any signs that you teleported (light, sounds, smells, etc.)? How frequently can you teleport?

See how such a simple power can be made unique by fleshing it out completely. So while the Watcher, Cloak, and Nightcrawler all teleport it is complete different power for each of these.

Oddly, there were several powers accidentially left out of this book (nine to be exact). You can find the information at (Classic Marvel Forever website). Elongation! They left out elongation!

Still, a FANTASTIC gaming resource for any superhero RPG and an ESSENTIAL book for the Marvel RPG.

My 17 Year Old Daughter is Such a Nerd

My 17 year old daughter is such a nerd. This is her and a friend out to see the midnight showing of the last Harry Potter movie.

[I just hope she doesn't reply with a post of me dressed up for the Star Wars movies.]

Thursday, July 14, 2011

DC Comics - The New 52

Scott and I are the big comic collectors in KGS. Me a bit more than Scott, each week I read about 60% of the new comics that come out for the week. This is actually a pretty decent feat since there are probably 100 different new comics each week. I have about 10,000+ comics in my personal collection and have been collecting regularly since the mid 1970s.
Here is my take on the New DC 52:

I hate when companies screw up the series numbering or start series numbering back at issue #1. It’s a big gimmick that affects the long time collectors and store owners in a major way. But the big two companies (Marvel and DC) have been doing it for so long now I am polarized to it. In fact, this complete relaunch of DC may be a genius move. With the announcement that DC is going day and date with new comic digital releases this is the perfect time to relaunch all titles with a new number 1. This way the digital collectors can collect all of the issues as well as the ‘true’ collectors who will be sticking with the physical paper. The numbering system is antiquated and with all the gimmicks done in the past the numbers just aren’t true numbers. Even Action Comics numbering is skewed because it went weekly for some time in the 1990s which artificially elevates your numbers.

New costumes.
Maybe my biggest problem with the New 52. I am hating the new Superman costume. How can they change the iconic Superman costume so much? It even looks like they gave Kal-El an armored outfit. What is that? My hopes are that many of these early images of costumes will be changing before the finished product comes out in September. They have already drastically changed the costume of Wonder Woman from the original pictures that were released. I love some of the changes, I love the fact that they are modernizing some costumes making them more like costumes found in some top selling video games like Arkham Asylum (aka Harley Quinns new look) but you can only go so far. This is the biggest factor that I will be looking at come September and will be a main deciding factor if I stick with a book or not.

Better Stories.
There have been no great comic book stories recently. Ok I lied a little bit; the most recent DC Epic FLASHPOINT is some of the best comic book story telling I have read in probably 10 or 15 years. DC has told its writers there is no more 5 or 6 comic book story arcs (perfect size for trades). If you have a good story and it is only enough to fill 2 comics then run with it. I love this concept. I hate knowing that ok I am reading part 4 of a story so I know they are going to start wrapping it up since the trade will only hold 1 or 2 more issues. Or even worse when they stretch a story that could have been told in 3 issues to 6 just so it is enough to fill a trade.
Along with this new edict comes another new concept I have always been against. Different issues of universe related comics taking place at different times. I have always been a fan of continuity. If it is winter in Batman then it should be winter in Superman. Well along with the better story format DC has announced that some books will take place outside of the ‘standard’ time. Justice League and Action are two books that will focus on the past. So everything you see in these two books would have taken place well before the happenings of the regular monthly Superman, Batman, or Green Lantern titles. Again I’m gonna give this a chance because I have heard some really great things about the Justice League book and I am very anxious to read it.

In Summary:
It remains to be seen what happens with the New DC 52. We know in September there will be 52 new #1 issues for DC Comics. I have added all of these #1s to my pull list at my local comic book store. Will I be getting every issue #2. No, I doubt it. There are already 2 or 3 comics out of this 52 that I have no interest whatsoever in. Will I get more DC titles than I currently get? Yes. Does it seem like this relaunch of DC is going to work? Stay tuned. I do know the local comic store (Comic Store West) has seen customers adding more DC comics to their pull list then they normally do, so initially it seems like it’s a win/win for all. We will wait and see what happens 3, 6, 12 months down the road.
I am also planning a special weekly podcast to review each of the 13 #1s that come out each week of September. Stay tuned to this website for more information.

Marvel Pokes Fun At DC Reset

Marvel attempted to slight DC in this month's Marvel Previews. DC, for better or worse, is resetting all 52 titles in its DC Universe line-up back to #1. That's right - Action Comics (which is over 900 issues) and Detective Comics (which is almost at 900 issues) are going to be rest to #1. More on that in a little bit.

In the latest Marvel Comics Previews magazine, at the bottom of each solicitation they put a little burst that announced their title was still retaining its original numbering. For example, Uncanny X-Men is on issue #543 so the burst said, "STILL #543." What's funny is Marvel DID reset some of its Ultimate lineup this month to #1. Some or the bursts are pretty lame such as New Avengers, "Still #16!" WOW! 16! REALLY? How long did it take you to get to #16!?!?!? Wait - only 16 months? Lame. To make things a little worse, Marvel has done plenty of its own number resetting in the past. Most of its major titles have reset to #1 at some point as a sales gimmick. Once fans reacted poorly, they just simply resumed numbering as it would have been if they hadn't reset the numbers. For example, Amazing Spider-Man reset to #1 after issue 441. It then ran for 58 issues. 441 + 58 = 499. So with the next issue Marvel resumed original numbering with issue #500. The whole thing was stupid.

Now, I understand that DC's event is a little more logical than that, but I'd still be really angry if I was a fan. Apparently, this is all going to tie into events during the Flashpoint storyline. Perhaps something happens to alter reality in the past? I don't know. But the actual continuity of the characters is going to be changed in major ways, throwing out some of the old continuity. As a fan, that just stinks. That's why I quit collecting! You mean I've spent thousands of dollars investing into your world and you're just going to throw out all of that story history for a sales gimmick? Get real. When are comic companies going to learn that a "reboot" or "reset" angers long time fans and offers a great place to get out while the continuity train stops.

We'll see how it works out for DC but don't be surprised if you see their numbering reset to the original numbering on those books within a few years.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Real Life Superheroes in Harrisburg

As we here at KGS gear up for a summer of superhero role playing (Marvel and Mutants and Masterminds), let's take a look at some real-life superheroes just to our north, the Keystone Crusaders. No, they're not a bunch of violent vigilantes out for Punisher-style justice. This is a group of well-meaning people who are trying to inspire a little social activism in their community. Like the Salvation Army, but with better costumes. Not a bad thing at all.

Real Life Superheroes Help City's Homeless - Video - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley

Six Recommendations for RPG Game Designers

I’ve come to the conclusion, after reading dozens of rpg game rules and countless hours playing these games, that game designers need help. You’d think having 30 plus years of RPG game design to draw from would keep these people from making the same mistakes that haunted early systems like original D&D, but I guess, like most Americans, game designers are bad at history. To help rectify this, I have provided six tips game designers should keep in mind when writing their rulebooks. Use these tips and watch the gaming forum hate-spew disappear!

1. Gamers love an index so for the love of God please include one. And while you’re at it, make sure it indexes subjects and terms readers will actually want to look up. There is nothing more frustrating than looking for a key word such as “damage” in the index only to come up empty. And set important terms in bold type in the index and in the main text. I can forgive a game bad layout if it’s easy to find important terms in the index. A table of contents is helpful, too.

2. I love examples of gameplay. More is better. Nothing is more frustrating than slogging through a difficult rules section without any examples to help clarify those rules. This is especially true for combat rules, skill usage rules, and character generation, but examples are helpful anywhere. I’ve never heard anyone say that they didn’t like reading a rulebook because it had too many examples, but the opposite is certainly true. If it’s a question of space, how about less flavor text and art? Both have their uses, but if I can’t understand how the game is played the flavor text and art won’t be of much use. Speaking of which . . .

3. Do we really need 20 paragraphs of flavor text before introducing every rule? I’m looking at you, Warhammer. Flavor text is a long-standing tradition of RPG rulebooks, going back to the essay-style rulebooks of first edition AD&D. And flavor text has its uses. If the designer is introducing a brand-new character or race that gamers may be unfamiliar with or wants to tell the reader why the elves in his game are more bad-ass than any other elves (they have 12 toes!) then yeah, spend some time describing this stuff. And please, no short stories. I’m sure you’re a brilliant writer, but a fictional story set in the game world is less helpful than including an actual-play session of the game. Yes, the story of Strongbow the Awesome Archer is really great and if you want to include it in the campaign section, go ahead, but including a real-play session with someone running Strongbow in a game has more relevance to the reader.

4. Just because a rule is different and unique doesn’t mean it’s better. Rules like using a shot clock with poker cards to govern combat as done in Aces and Eights, the incredibly broken and underplaytested d12 system in Colonial Gothic, or the roll-buckets-of-dice-and-add-them-up-until-you-want-to-scream system of Oz Dark and Terrible are certainly unique and different. But are they fun? Do they get in the way of roleplaying and bog down the game session with rule questions? Would a less unique but more playable rule work better in a game session? The answer to all these question is a resounding YES. I think that new rules and ideas, carefully designed and playtested, are important in the growth of the industry and add a fun twist to a game session. BUT, there are a lot of great RPG ideas stretching back 30+ years that can be mined for use in current games.

5. What do 75% of all rpg players have in common? Poor eyesight. So why then is it a good idea to layout a page using a dark purple background and a ghosted image behind 9 pt serif type with light electric blue sidebars and 8 pt white type? Yes, designers, I know you just finished your “InDesign and You” class and you’re eager to show your chops, but before you get started think carefully about one thing: readability. This is a flippin’ rulebook you’re designing, not an art studio splash page. Think about the sequential order of rules, how boxes with similar content should have the same style, that the skills section and the combat section should not look like they’re from two different books. Style is important, it helps sell and market these books, but content and layout with a focus on readability and use should be taken into account when laying out books.

6. Does the gaming universe really need another high-fantasy RPG? There’s no denying that gamers love elves, dwarves, dragons, and dungeons, but we’ve already got a pantload of great games to choose from. I feel bad for designers who spend months, even years, meticulously working through game mechanics and carefully crafting their game world until it practically hums with precisions smoothness, carefully lay out the rules, pay artists and graphic designers, print out an expensive hardback of the rules, and then watch their system get steamrolled by already established juggernauts like D&D. I think good games will eventually find an audience, but the slice of the pie, especially in the high-fantasy market, will end up being a lot smaller than it should. A better bet might be to follow Paizo’s idea. Instead of trying to develop their own system, they took an older system (D&D 3.5) that had been abandoned by its publisher but still had a very loyal (and large) fan base, revised the rules based on player feedback, then released it as Pathfinder and have enjoyed great success since then. If you still insist on designing that fantasy RPG, then look for a hook that will get people excited about your game. Base the world on a popular fantasy novel or setting from literature. (Song of Ice and Fire, Lord of the Rings, and Conan) or tie it in to an established computer game (such as Everquest, Dragon Age, and Warcraft). Have any of these systems met with great success? Not really. Again, the slice of the pie for new systems in this market will never be huge. You're better off aiming for a more generic system (such as Savage Worlds) or a less saturated niche market.

Marvel RPGs #4 - D100 Cardboard Heroes

Most of the time, I an opposed to miniatures and being "on the grid" in RPGs. I think it slows down combat and makes it more unrealistic.

I've already posted about Cardboard Heroes. I think if you've GOT to use minis, why not use the cheapest ones possible? Why spend hundreds of dollars on paints and minis and waste all that time and effort? But that's just my preference.

The Classic Marvel RPG is "on the grid" and to play fully by the rules you must use minis. But it is very flexible and I actually like it! Instead of "five foot squares" the map is broken into "areas." Depending on the surroundings, areas can be large or small. In a crowded building with hallways, doors, rooms, etc. areas will be quite small. In an open field, areas will be quite large. This adds a great deal of flexibility to movement - you're simply moving through and to areas. Want to stop behind the corner of the building? No problem if it is in the area you are moving to.

But the best part are the miniatures.

This is the contents of the Marvel Super Heroes Basic Set - notice the small little pictures in the lower right corner. Every set came with tons of cardboard miniatures. These miniatures were three sided. Cut them out, fold each miniature, and glue them. Done! Instant miniatures!

What's really cool about these miniatures is they have a "front" and the three sides are the three different perspectives of the same character - rear, profile left, and profile front right. Instead of having a "facing forward" stance on all three sides, this was a very nice touch. You can see they had fun with it - the Invisible Woman is actually invisible in one angle and Mr. Fantastic is stretched across all three angles.

These miniatures were an extra added bonus with almost all of the boxed sets. I believe at this point I have all of them and there are literally hundreds - even very obscure characters. They also gave you miniatures of bystanders, common thugs, Hydra agents, generic shield agents, cops, crowds, scenery, etc. etc. etc.

Not having to spend any extra money to populate my game with dozens of cool miniatures? What a brilliant idea. Another great reason why the classic D100 Marvel system was so brilliant.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

KGS Podcast - Episode 00025 - Oz Dark and Terrible RPG Review


Monday, July 11, 2011

KGS Midnight Show #4: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

That's right folks! KGS is back with another fantastic midnight showing at Frank's Theater in the Queensgate Shopping Center! I predict that, as far as the event itself is concerned, this one will be the best yet! Some of the shows are already sold out so if you want tickets for this one, you want to grab them NOW! This show will be at MIDNIGHT between Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15. Show up early. I can tell you from attending midnight release parties for the novels that these things are CRAZY! Muggles go insane over Harry Potter!

Marvel RPGS #3 - D100 Resolution System

Whether you're a fan of superhero RPGs or not, this table is something I feel that all roleplayers can appreciate. What this table represents is a simple percentile-based resolution system AND a basic combat rules summary. How great is that?

Now, you may not be able to make out the details on this chart so let me tell you what you're looking for.

Across the top of the page is a list of every combat maneuver you can make and it tells you what the color results mean. For example, for Blunt Attacks you use your fighting skill. A white result is a MISS, a green is a HIT, a yellow is a SLAM and a red is a STUN.

Now, the large chart tells  you how to find your results. To the left is a list of the percentages. Across the top is the skill, power, or attribute ranks from "Shift 0" to "Beyond." This represents the entire range of power from Aunt May to God himself. Say you have Amazing level fighting and you roll a 87 - find the place where the Amazing column intersects with the 87 row - it's yellow. At the top of the page this tells you than your result is a SLAM. Congratulations! Not only did you hit but you SLAMMED your opponent away from you, perhaps into a wall doing more damage! Awesome!

See? It's that simple!

What a fantastic system. I a shocked that Wizards hasn't using this system in any other RPG. Perhaps they can't due to their original agreement with Marvel or something. Who knows.

Marvel has tried various other RPGs over the years and, although they all take place in the same universe with the same characters none of been as popular at the classic D100 RPG. This chart is the reason why.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Online Flash Games, Week 8: Metalix TD

Ask anyone who frequents flash game websites and they'll probably say that Tower Defence games are some of the most common kinds of games out there. But this week's game is unlike any Tower Defence game I have ever played. Scott asked me to play this game and review it this week. And while I'm on the subject, anyone who wants me to review a game by all means send me and email about it. I'd be glad to.

Metalix TD is at its core the same as any tower defence game. You use different types of towers, in this case canon, laser, and fire towers, to prevent something from getting to whatever you need to protect along a clearly shown path. Like other game you can upgrade your towers with points you earn during the game to give them greater power, range, quantity, and movement. Wait, movement?

In every other TD game I've played, the path never changes and the towers don't move. But not Metalix. After every level the path moves around a little. If your towers are on the path they can be damaged. So you need to move them off the path. The more movement you tower has the faster it moves. You can move towers along the entire length of the path if you want, though moving isn't free.

The tutorial has the same setup that Railway Valley did, where it tells you what the game play items are in general, not in the context of the game. But Metalix succeeds where others have failed. It tells you what the vocabulary means in relation to the game.

But where I have an issue with Metalix is that the simple act of making a pathway move changes the game drastically from the TD genre. Instead of setting up a system of towers along a set path, you have to move them around. This really can through someone out of their element. I only got to level 16 and I feel terrible about a score like that. Maybe as I play it more I can get the hang of moving the towers around, but it takes some getting used to.

However, despite this change from usual TD game setups, it is still a fun game to play. Maybe you can get used to the game quicker than I did, and to that I say more power to ya. Scott told me that this was his favorite online game, which I can see why, though it isn't my favorite. But I know the real reason he likes this game. Every TD game has some type of target, whether it be balloons or Japanese soldiers. But this game has small, robotic animals. Scott burning small defence animals; says alot doesn't it?

Metalix TD was produced by POintZero Co. and manufactured by Masateru Umeda.

Play Metalix now:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Marvel RPGs #2 - Classic D100 System overview

The very first and, in my humble opinion, best Marvel RPG ever was the D100 system. This game was called Marvel Super Heroes. It is now referenced as the "classic" Marvel RPG.

As you can see from this cover, this system was published by TSR. TSR took full advantage of its Marvel license putting out dozens of products that sold very well from 1984 into the early 90's. Eventually Marvel and TSR parted ways for whatever reason (probably Marvel wanting too much money for licensing rights - Marvel was going through a bankruptcy at the time).

While the core resolution is one of the best ever devised (it is simply and very flexible to fit all situations), one of the biggest drawback to this game is the increasing complexity the rule books went through. The old rule books were usually never revised or updated to reflect additional rules complications or clarifications. Originally, this game was released as a "basic" set in which players could basically just play their favorite heroes from the comics. Rules were very simply. When this proved to be popular, TSR released the Advanced Set - Kinda like a version 2.0. But where things get complicated is when you consider other sourcebooks that expand greatly one particular aspect of the core rules - say, super powers or magic. These "enhanced" advanced rules are not reflect in TSR published character write-ups or adventures, making things unnecessarily complicated at times. To add to this, like a lot of RPGs published in the 80's the rules aren't always as specific or clear as you would like them to be.

But, all nit-picking aside, this is a fabulous system and an extremely fun world to play in. I have been using this system for decades and I own an extensive amount of material for this system. TSR really did explore every aspect of the Marvel U - there are literally hundreds of comic book characters that had officially published character sheets sold for them. Some popular characters even had multiple different versions of the same character released (say, Spider-Man as a teen, Spider-Man with six arms, Spider-Man as an adult, etc.). What's better is that these sheets were perforated and three hole punched so you could store them in binders and organize them as you wished.

You can find a plethora of material available on Ebay and other online sources still to this day for very reasonable prices. If you're a fan of the Marvel Universe and like RPGs, I STRONGLY encourage you to purchase the core "advanced" rules for this game and give it a shot. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Traveller--Secrets of the Ancients for Free! in conjunction with Mongoose Publishing, has made Secrets of the Ancients, a 12-part adventure campaign, free as a pdf download on their website. This campaign is based on an old adventure from classic Traveller, and is considered one of the better adventures of that era. The campaign concerns the discovery of artifacts of an ancient, powerful race of aliens, and plunges the PCs into a word of intrigue and adventure. Definitely worth a look for Traveller fans! G to

Marvel RPGs #1 - Overview

#1 in a series of blog posts discussing the various Marvel RPG games.

I am a HUGE fan of the Marvel Comics characters - Spider-Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, etc. etc. etc. I can't get enough of these characters in any format - be it film, novels, television, board games, comic books, or role playing games. The Marvel Universe is one of those natural worlds to be explored in the form of a role playing game.

This world has its own extraordinarily rich and detailed history (and alternate futures). You could choose to play in a "generic" MU or a specific historical setting in the MU. World War II? No problem! Marvel's Civil War? Got that! The dawn of the Marvel Age? You're there. Days of Future Past? Awesome campaign setting. Your campaign could take place as a gigantic "What If?" scenario in which your characters are the x-factor! Not to mention WORLDS! From Atlantis to the Inhumans on the moon to deep space with the Kree, Shi'Ar, Skrulls, to the Negative Zone to the Microverse - literally in the MU your game can take place in any world, plane, or reality.

The MU is populated with hundreds of colorful and well established characters that are recognizable by most people who aren't even fans of a comic book. How awesome is it in to team up with Spider-Man or to swing by the Baxter Building to consult with Reed Richards? What's even better is you can choose to play one of these well established characters and live out the storylines you've always imagined. Who should win in a fight - Thor or the Hulk? What would Spider-Man be like if he got kung-fu training from Iron Fist? What's more, you can create your own original character and join the ranks of the Avengers or the X-Men! Build your own legend!

There have been multiple versions of the Marvel RPG over the years - each very radically different from the other ones. Over the next several weeks we'll examine these RPGs in detail.