Brace Yourselves – Steam Holiday Sale is Coming

It’s that time of year again. Of course I’m not talking about Christmas, no, I’m talking about the Steam Holiday sale. Never before have I known an event to cause such equal parts joy and dread in the gaming community. Now when you see good games like Dungeons of Dredmor going for for say, $1.88 you may find it easy to understand the joy part, but how in the world could anyone expect dread? Because the prices are so low gamers feel almost compelled to buy them. Only a $0.99 crack rock special could evoke a more frenzied consumer. When the entire sale is done all of us will find our wallets lighter, caught up in the sheer game buying orgy. So, be careful, try not to buy to much, and remember… a lot of these games come back even cheaper the next day or at the end of the sale.

That’s how they get’cha.

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Avatar 2: Nukes from Space!

Admit it, you thought this too

So after everyone else on the planet has seen it I finally got around to seeing Avatar. What took me so long? Well there was that whole eye surgery thing that made me not want to goto movie theaters for a while. Then by the time I was in a state where I wasn’t constantly dropping drops in my eyes, or worried that the 3D would destroy my vision forever the movie was trapped in that limbo between the time between it’s in first run theaters and cheap theaters. So this week I spent a whopping $1 to see Avatar and $5 on a large soda and a large popcorn and settled down to watch the darn thing.

And you know what it was good and enjoyable. I liked watching it, it was fun, the visuals were stunning, the characters were interesting, and it told a pretty classic story. So all in all the movie was great. A+

But like a lot of other movies sometimes things just really glare out at you if you really start thinking about them. Like why not just drop bombs on the magical Yggdrasil stand-in tree from space? Does the future not have unmanned drones anymore? I mean they have unmanned blue people! Why not just use systems like the avatars to pilot a hordes of killer drones?! When that giant aboriginal horde is gathering, why not just dig in and plant land mines, etc. Maybe evac non-essential personnel off the rock first. That plan seems a lot more sound then, “Fly into the super-Bermuda triangle beneath the giant ambush rocks.” Why fly under the giant ambush rocks? Those things they were piloting are VTOLs! Fly over the bloody ambush rocks and /then/ descend. I’m pretty sure their vehicles with pressurized cockpits can fly higher than a bird can. Heck maybe just drop the bomb from that height to begin with! Why do the Navi’s arrows just bounce off their vehicles in one scene yet in a later at the climax of the film they punch through them like paper. For that matter why is anyone in the future making cockpit glass for military gunships out of glass weaker than today’s bullet-proof glass? And why in the hell wouldn’t the sequel be called, “Avatar 2: Nukes from Space”? You know that nine years later when the survivors get back to earth their response won’t be pretty.

Oh yeah, that’s assuming you ignore the fact that they have the only people dealing with the Navi under such little surveillance that they can so easily go off the reservation. Or why in the heck they can’t just dig a tunnel under the ground to the Unobtanium site and just mine it from there.* (I still can barely believe they really called it Unobtanium.) Nevermind that, there’s got to be other sites of the mineral somewhere on the planet that would be better to mine first before they start sinking their profits into a native extermination campaign.

Anyway, it’s a good movie. Just don’t think about it too hard. Let’s be honest, watching the “sky people” launch cruiser missiles and drones across Pandora for two hours would have been crazy boring.

*And let’s not get started on the fact that they show no scenes of Jake Sulley ever talking to the Navi about the Unobtanium, and if there is, you know, maybe someway they could get the really important space rocks the Navi don’t give a damn about in some way where everyone would be happy. I mean, I just assume magic space rocks came up sometime in montages or backstory, but who knows, maybe he never said a bloody thing.

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Time Extended!

Anyone who’s ever played outrun or any of Sega’s other similar racers in an arcade can probably hear that over-excited digitized voice in their head now at the mere mention of these words. Imagine my surprise when browsing for some soda in Wal-mart I came upon these two packages of Mountain Dew Throwback and Pepsi Throwback. For those of you who don’t know, the superb Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback are back again for a limited time. According to Pepsi the production run for these is going to be 8 weeks long and it started on December 28th. These two sodas are identical to the previous run, though the packaging is much more in theme, I’m really glad to see the old Pepsi logo, and the Mountain Dew has orange juice concentrate and more caffeine in it like regular Mountain Dew.

I really like soda. A lot. And I like soda made with real sugar even better. Well, at least I think I do. Who knows, if I took a blind taste test, maybe I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I’m not about to discount the fact that this whole, “Made with real sugar thing” could be a gigantic placebo effect on my taste buds. But if that’s the case, placebo tastes mighty good. It just seems to me the sodas made with real sugar “pop” a bit more and have a “brighter” taste to them. So I’m happy to see these products back on shelves. How happy am I to see them? I normally drink cherry coke. Yeah, that’s right, this whole real sugar thing is enough to get me to drink Pepsi instead of coke. I sure hope Pepsi gets smart and stops teasing us all with these limited runs, because I really want to keep on enjoying this stuff. Of course, without it I’ll just switch back over to Jones Soda and their excellent Pure Cane Cola, which is also excellent, and they have many other great flavors of cane cola as well. Berry Lemonade being a real favorite.
If you like soda too, check out www.sodapopstop.com for Galco’s. They’re in California and they were featured on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, Soda. (I did say I loved Soda, right?) They’re a veritable Mecca of soda. I mean they have nigh unto everything there, and their site is like an encyclopedia of Soda in the United States and nearby countries. Check it out.

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SecuROM is the Devil

Did they use 1984 as their guide to slogan writing?

Contrary to what some of my readers may be thinking, the above is not an opinion, but actually a fact. A fact that bears repeating. There is in fact a hell, and SecuROM, the prince of lies, lords over all of its many honeycombed layers.

Ok, perhaps that is just a teeny tiny bit of exaggeration, but it’s not too far off the mark. You see all of the various bits and pieces of undocumented software that things like SecuROM and Starforce and things such as Gameguard have installed into my various computers have caused more problems and crashed more software and caused me to format and reinstall my machines more than anything else. Think about that. That’s more than viruses, adware, and spyware. That’s a lot of problems for a “legitimate” business.

I’m just so sick and tired of having my expensive high-priced machine being dicked around with by a company that is scamming game companies by promising protection against piracy, a promise that is as much of a boondoggle as timeshares (Which they don’t call timeshares anymore because we’ve all learned it’s a scam.) How many studies have to come out that show it’s not piracy but bootlegging, something the copy protection cannot stop, that are the cause of loss of sales?

Brad Wardell from Stardock put the whole issue together better than I will here, so I’m not going to go into deep analysis here. What I am going to do is relate one of my recent experiences with SecuROM.

Blood Bowl is a game I enjoy. A lot. I bought it direct from Cyanide because I wanted them to get the most money they could from my purchase. Blood Bowl, I found out after purchasing, uses SecuROM. Makes me wish I waited for Steam’s version, but who knows maybe that has some similar DRM  on it too. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

So I installed it on my PC, and shortly after my PC crashes and I have to format and reinstall. Blood Bowl only allows 3 activations. But I’m not too worried because, hey, SecuROM says that I didn’t lose my activation because it is the same PC. I mean, yeah SecuROM is the devil, but devils are lawful evil right? So according to SecuROM I have two activations left. So then I install Blood Bowl on my laptop. No problems, and this means I should have one activation left. So I go to install it on my netbook and BAM!,  failed to activate. What? I only have two copies of the game installed! Where’s did my third activation go?

Well if you haven’t guessed what the problem is I’ll illuminate it for you. SecuROM’s support FAQ is a pack of lies. My first install, the one before the format and reinstall, devoured my first activation and sent it to the farthest reaches of time and space, never to be seen from again despite what the FAQ says. The software will gleefully steal your activations whenever it feels like it and give nothing back in return. The FAQ topic is there to fool consumers into thinking SecuROM isn’t going to bend them over a table and screw them, because if they did they’d avoid anything with SecuROM on it like the plague it is.

But should this be any sort of surprise from a piece of software whose slogan is “Get MAXIMUM Control”. I mean great fishes and little gods. Get MAXIMUM control? What kind of a slogan is that? Only sick people want MAXIMUM control over other people. Also, if this were my slogan, I wouldn’t put it on the internet. I mean if you’re going to go through all the trouble to lie to people about your software you shouldn’t undo the whole damn thing by leaving your fascist slogan out there for everyone to see.

It just all reminds me why I don’t buy things from Sony, the owners of SecuROM, in general. I own one Sony product in out of all the many electronics I own. And I don’t even like that. Every time I’ve bought from Sony I’ve found that LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and Altec Lansing have made superior products for less. Oh, and the DRM, lock you in, you use only our stuff philosophy bleeds over into everything they make. (IE: Don’t buy their ebook reader ever) And in the realm of DRM, all Sony and SecuROM have manged to do is make me a lifetime customer of Stardock, and a lesser extent Valve. Both great companies on their own, but SecuROM and Starforce have made what should be standard business practices of decency and customer service and selling a product that isn’t design to self-destruct into a major virtue.

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Why Game Systems do not Enhance Roleplaying

Every so often I’m told that a particular game system enhances role-playing, or that it is more role-playing friendly. However it’s my opinion that the “Game” part of “Role-playing Game” is actually in most cases is something that generally limits the “Role-playing” part, not enhances it. Since D&D is most popular, I hear that about editions of D&D, but this phenomenon and discussion is something that has come up in one form or another in every game I’ve ever played. In this article I will attempt to explain what role-play is, identify the best case scenario for role-playing, why role-playing is traded in exchange for the game, and give some examples of how game systems limit role-playing potential and how they’re largely divorced from the minutia these discussions usually delve into.

So to begin, what is role-playing? Well when in doubt, grab your dictionary. Here’s how the Random House dictionary defines role-playing.

role-play

  • verb (used with object)

1.     to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), esp. in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction: Management trainees were given a chance to role-play labor negotiators.
2.     to experiment with or experience (a situation or viewpoint) by playing a role: trainees role-playing management positions.

  • verb (used without object)

3.     to engage in role-playing.

A pretty basic definition. So what situation is ideal for role-playing? Free-form role-playing. Now some of you reading this may have dabbled in this before and some of you haven’t. Free-form is just what it sounds like, it’s completely free and there are no rules attached to it. About the only kind of restriction on what can be role-played is any kind of theme that might be in place to provide a setting. Other than that players can create characters with of any type or background or ability that they can possibly imagine. It’s an ideal scenario for role-playing in that pretty much whatever any player wants to roleplay is allowed.

However as anyone who has dabbled in free-form will tell you there can be some problems with this setup. The fact that anything is allowed can be a double-edged sword. You have to work and flow with concepts that may be strange, and if there is any conflict between players, well, you can just forget it. Without anyone in a position to arbitrate and no way to make judgments about what is and isn’t acceptable the entire thing will almost always devolve into a power-gaming mess unless all the players are on the same wavelength. And that’s the crux of the problem. Unless you have a group you can really trust for this, or an experienced group that knows how to work their way around this, then it doesn’t really work so well. All it takes is one guy not in sync to knock down the house of cards.

That’s where the “Game” part of “Role-playing Game” comes in. When you play a Role-playing Game you’re trading some of the freedom of free-form for some rules that decide how strong your character can be, what they can do, and a system to resolve conflicting actions as a kind of neutral arbiter. This is the reason combat is often a big section of any game system, as it’s a large conflict often in need of strict management. You no longer have infinite options, but everyone’s options are limited equally. If the game-system won’t support your character concept or won’t let you have an ability you’d like to play then your ability to role-play that is eliminated.

Now some games choose to take a very light-handed approach to the game system, like Amber or Fudge, and some have a pretty heavy-hand like D&D or Warhammer. None of these approaches is wrong. The game system is written with a particular tone or common activities being the focus of the game, and so it is written to facilitate  these things and to anticipate the conflicts one will see there. D&D expects a focus on exploring sites, fighting monsters, feats of skill, etc. so it has a lot of rules to govern this, where as a system like BESM expects more focus on character abilities and social events with quick bursts of conflict, and so it focuses on these elements. What particular system you decide to use largely depends on the sort of activity you would like to be doing in your game, and then using a game system to supports that.

However in all these cases it’s not the minutia of how the game handles something, like if it uses magic points, spells per day, per encounter, etc, or which dice are role and how they’re compared to a stat that limits your roleplay, but if the system will even let you do something in the first place. If you can do the action at all, then generally the game mechanics side of it doesn’t really matter. The player describes the action, embellishes it, describes it, does whatever the game-system demands he do in exchange, and either it succeeds or fails. It doesn’t really matter how the game mechanics of casting a fireball or a lightning bolt work so long as you can cast one in the first place.

This means that really what determines what is going to be better for role-playing for a particular character is what set of restrictions they are willing to accept on their role-playing in exchange for the benefits the game system itself provides. If a player finds the way a particular set of restrictions on their ability to roleplay are set they’ll enjoy that system better, but it doesn’t make any system better for everyone. Just remember, role-playing lives in the fluff, not the crunch, and when comparing game systems we should be talking about how game systems restrict role-playing more or less in different areas, rather than saying certain game systems promote role-playing.

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Thirty-five Improvements D&D Fourth Edition Made to the Game

Diplomacy, it's not just a nickname for your axe

I’ve played a lot of D&D. I had my first taste of it in the final days of AD&D2e. It was ok, but I never really understood how it worked, that always had to be handled by my DM. And when 3rd came out, we switched. I’m one of the few people who actually bothered converting an AD&D2e character to 3e. When 3e came out I liked it. The game system was revised. Things like certain races only being able to get to certain levels of a class were gone, the rate of XP gain was unified, and it introduced the modifier system for stats which replaced so many copious tables and was one of the best things to happen to D&D since the d20. In short, 3e was good. I played many a great games of 3e, and I had many great adventures dealing with the Coryani Emperor’s mad plans in Onara, navigating the twisted intrigues of Sharn in Eberron, and driving out giant hordes from Geoff in Greyhawk.

But at the same time I was enjoying 3e I heard the wails and the gnashing of teeth of people who hated the change. 3e is an abomination. They’re taking all the flavor out of the game. They’re dumbing it down. All the role-playing flavor is gone. 3e is a money-grab. Why can’t they just stick with AD&D2e. 3e is a horrible flop and they’ll have to go back to AD&D2e. I remember hearing all those arguments back in 2001 and well on into 2003. I remember being berated for even mentioning that 3e was D&D.

So when 2008 rolled around I suppose I shouldn’t have been terribly surprised when history repeated itself and I hear the same sorts of arguments when the 4th edition of D&D saw the light of day. And you know what, I get why someone wouldn’t like any sort of new version of their favorite game. There are plenty of changes. Some you’re not going to like, nevermind the fact that most of us are pre-disposed to dislike changes of any kind. Toss in the fact that a new edition is a request for you to buy new product, and I completely understand how that could be a deal-breaker of sorts.

What I have never gotten though is the need to heap abuse upon anything about the new version or anyone who uses it. I mean “Gabe” from Penny-arcade had “4e is an abomination, you should play X, that’s the real version” as one of the top things he’d been emailed about his D&D campaign. Is that really the kind of message to send to someone brand new to the game? Then again, I never really understood “system fanboys” and “Mac or PC fanboys” and it seems to be pretty much the same phenomenon, and let’s not even get into “real-life” issues that delve into the same territory.

Back to the matter at hand, sometimes I am foolish enough to get into this “discussion”. Though it’s never really a discussion so much as an opportunity for people to sling hate at each other. On one of these occasions I was told, in classic hyperbolic fashion, that there was nothing good about 4e. So rather than being smart and not getting involved, I instead decided to write-up a list of everything off the top of my head that I thought was an improvement that 4e made to the game. Then my list was 32 items long. I have since added three more.

Even though getting into an argument which is probably nothing more than an exercise in misplaced  anger wasn’t the wise thing to do, I still think the list that was written up was an interesting thing to look at, and so it deserves to be shared here with anyone willing to take a look at it. I don’t think I imagined the list would get so long when I began writing it.

A few disclaimers before the list begins, however. I imagine someone is going to say something about how one edition promotes role-playing more than another, and you won’t see that on this list. I decided to keep this list about the game design itself, which keeps other external things like book layout out of the list too. For the record though I don’t think either game by its nature encourages role-playing more or less than the other. Look for a future article where I explain why. Also 4e is not perfect. I could make a list of things I don’t like about 4e too. It’s not perfect, and with any luck when 2015 or so rolls around at 5e comes maybe some of those things will be addressed.

So without further ado here is my list of 35 improvements I think 4e brought to the game.

  1. Cone and Burst templates replaced with easy to follow Burst and Blast squares which do the same thing but do not require memorizing the square pattern or having a template, such as the ones by steel squire. No more groans from Entangle being cast. Wire coat hangers everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.
  2.  

  3. Skill system was redesigned so similar skills were combined into groups, eliminating the need for skill synergy as synergistic activities are now part of the same skill. All classes tend to have skills that are often relevant in every adventure.
  4.  

  5. Skill point system replaced with / untrained / trained / skill focus setup. Generally in this game and 3e what happens is players will max out certain skills and just continually put a point into it each level to keep it maxed. Now this simply happens automatically as training and skill focus are flat bonuses that can be given to skills and all characters get a half their level as a bonus to skill checks. This also has a side effect of ensuring your character improves overall at skill related tasks to represent experience gained as an adventurer, rather than eternally being pathetic at a number of tasks like what would happen in the earlier system.
  6.  

  7. Large Base Attack Bonus, Fort, Reflex, Will tables replaced with static bonuses at level 1 based on class and defenses, attack bonus, ability checks and skill checks increase by 1 every other level (IE: Half level). I’m never going to forget what a pain it was leveling up my Fighter/Wizard/Spellsword at level 10 having to references three different charts.
  8.  

  9. Game is stable and consistent through levels 1-30, where as 3rd has a “sweet spot” of 5-12. Before level 5 characters are rather weak, after level 12 the game breaks down.
  10.  

  11. Vancian spell casting is gone. Spells now use a unified easy to understand implementation that is shared by all powers regardless of the power source while still keeping their flavor due to the properties available to the powers themselves. Fireballs still explode and need good reflex to avoid and roast your party members if you’re not careful, while divine casters often need not worry about this as their offensive prayers usually only hurt enemies, but they tend to have less offense in comparison. Martial characters still primarily deal in AC. Players do not need to learn whole new systems to understand spell casters or psionic characters.
  12.  

  13. Powers system allows for all classes to shine in their own way and emulate the feats of heroism that players are accustomed to in legends, stories, books, movies, and yes, sometimes video games. Large number of powers to choose from allows characters to make their character different from others of the same class by the selections they make. Power selections also allow martial characters to differentiate themselves from other martial characters more so than in earlier editions, where before only spell-casters got that kind attention. Rogues in combat are no longer just a defined by their sneak attack, but their ability to blind, cripple, slip through defenses, etc.
  14.  

  15. Races strengthened and made more unique. Races are more important throughout a character’s career thanks to more feats and class options related to race. Had side effect of no longer requiring ECL for many classic D&D races.
  16.  

  17. Combat rules streamlined and unneeded complexity removed from key areas.
  18.  

  19. Roles for Monsters and Character Classes make it easier for the DM or Players to narrow down their search for what they want to play or what monsters to include and careful choose which entries they want to read fully.
  20.  

  21. 3rd edition followed a “battle of attrition” model of balance, where upon players would face a large number of easy challenges that would spend their resources and player’s mistakes would come out most of all in later encounters where resources they spent in the beginning encounters cause their downfall. This lead to the “30 minute day” where players would get up, fight something huge, then goto bed. (The length of time it takes to run encounters encouraged this as well.) This lead to DM’s often having to pump things up for the one big fight to work correctly. 4th edition centers more upon each encounter being dangerous and less on attrition between encounters, encouraging parties to continue adventuring.
  22.  

  23. Encounters are now easier to create. Monster types make it easy for DM’s to get ideas how a group of monsters interact with each other, avoiding game-breaking combinations. The effects of traps in an encounter with monsters are now easier to determine. As a result, traps are more often parts of combats and not “That thing that happens between combats”.
  24.  

  25. Skill challenges give a framework for DM’s to visualize and create a variety of non-combat based encounters. (Previously you just kind of winged it.) Skill challenge system is flexible and abstract so it is not confining.
  26.  

  27. DC’s and Damage table in DMG makes it easier for DMs to calculate original or unexpected things, such as terrain not thought as such being used as a weapon
  28.  

  29. Fantastic terrain added, effects of natural terrain more clearly defined.
  30.  

  31. Disease system is more robust, with variable effects dependant on the stage of the disease on the affected character.
  32.  

  33. Sizes of creatures adjusted and consolidated. No more piles of tiny sizes most people don’t remember and no more colossal size that filled up most people’s game mats. Have you seen that Colossal Red Dragon mini in person? It’s huge. It’s a statue, not a mini.
  34.  

  35. Classes always gain something each level. No “dead levels”.
  36.  

  37. Epic levels (21-30) no longer need a separate system to use and are part of the core game. Note that Level’s 13-30 in 3rd are past the sweet spot of 5-12 and game mechanics break down in those levels.
  38.  

  39. Epic destinies get players to think about how they want to exit the game when it’s over. Epic destinies have many important world-changing events in them which can spur on future campaigns.
  40.  

  41. Paragon Paths are easier to use than Prestige Classes and serve the purpose of specializing a character better than prestige classes
  42.  

  43. System is written from the ground up to accommodate future books and expansion without breaking the core system.
  44.  

  45. Weapon groups with their feats and the magic items eligible for those groups allows for lots of flavor to be tied to a weapon type, with the added benefit that newly created weapons do not need new rules added to use these feats / magic items
  46.  

  47. Encounters are generally based upon groups of monsters opposed to 3rd ed being largely based on “The one big thing”. This makes movement and tactics more important, making combat more interesting. 4th edition however can still easily do “the one big thing” very well, where as third has lots of difficulty with groups of monsters, especially if you’re talking about more than a pair of the same monster.
  48.  

  49. Monster stat blocks are easier to read and are written with running them at the table in mind. Running monsters is vastly easier as a result.
  50.  

  51. Death and dying rules allow for the character’s health to be taken into effect (Death at -Bloodied instead of -10), while at the same time making it so the dying state is more dramatic, yet simpler to manager. The three failed death saves per encounter and you’re dead is simpler and more effective than the -1 hit point or 10% stabilization a round. The unneeded 0 hit point condition of disabled has been removed.
  52.  

  53. Magic item slots consolidated. With three primary slots, weapon, armor, and neck, and the rest being supplemental. Stat boosters items that were required for progression removed.
  54.  

  55. Encumbrance rules simplified. No more unwieldly chart that just gets ignored.
  56.  

  57. Rest and recovery simplified. No more need to play the cleric-rest healing game
  58.  

  59. Swimming and flying simplified and made easier to understand and run creatures with those abilities or adventures in those settings.
  60.  

  61. Frustrating grapple rules eliminated. Monsters that were grapple-centric now have abilities to represent this, making them simpler to run while keeping their flavor.
  62.  

  63. Healing surges take much of the need to manage healing resources off of the cleric. Healing surges encourage the encounter-centric game balance and de-emphasize attrition-based challenges.
  64.  

  65. Fort, Reflex, and Will saves turned into defenses just like AC. This streamlined attacking because the die rolling is all on the attacker’s side and not the defender’s side. This also tends to make things easier on the DM.
  66.  

  67. Spells with durations longer than a round have been replaced with effects that can be sustained by the caster or effects that need the target to make a saving through (10+ on a d20) every round to escape the effects of the spell. This makes it so you do not end up having to keep track of the duration of several spells cast on you like in previous editions, and you simply have to remember if something is cast on you or not. Once again, this tends to make things easier on DMs.
  68.  

  69. Recharge system replaces effects that were often “recharges in 1d4 rounds”. Recharge powers now instead list what numbers on a d6 that must be rolled to get the ability back. The monster rolls a 1d6 each round and if one of those numbers come back up the ability returns. Instead of “ticking off” rounds for the ability the DM only has to keep track if the ability has been used or not, and remember to roll recharge each round to see if it comes back.
  70.  

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First Impressions of Blood Bowl

Being that I play D&D and lot, play and run games at the local game store, and am generally at the game store it’s no accident that I’ve heard of Blood Bowl before. The miniatures game by Games Workshop pits two custom made teams of players against each other each other in an incredibly violet game of a football like sport. Around here they organize into Blood Bowl leagues around this time of year and really get to it. It’s always sounded like something really fun to play.

Now I’ve never picked this game up because I haven’t been looking forward to getting into another game, but also the game isn’t cheap and it requires the assembly and painting of small pewter miniatures. Something I’ve been needing to do with a whole bunch of miniatures that I have. So when I heard about the Blood Bowl video game I was intrigued, but I didn’t pick it up because I wanted to try it. Unfortunately no demo ever surfaced (why?) but I recently got to try it at the local game store that has it installed. And I’ve got to say, wow, this game is just pure fun. I mean I pretty much I have easily emptied out an entire day into play the game after I purchased it. It’s really nice to see a good turn based strategy game on the PC, and the fact that the game is about getting the ball to the goal rather than eliminating the opponent really makes for a great change of pace. There’s just something really magical about having a turn where  you tackle the ball carrier, send your catcher into the end zone, and have your thrower inch up, grab the ball, and toss it through a narrow open lane for a touchdown.  Guess this means I might end up looking at the Blood Bowl pen and paper game box a bit more seriously next time I’m at the store.

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