Daily Punch 6-18-14 Steady Hands quality for Shadowrun 5e

Today’s post was about Bullets and Bandages, how about a quality to go along with it?


Steady Hands

Cost: 10 Karma

Your hands are a rock!  Nothing shakes you and you keep under control in the worst of situations.  Gain a +1 to the biotechnology skill group and all associated skills in that skill group.




Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Bullets & Bandages  

Product– Bullets & Bandages

System– Shadowrun 4 and Shadowrun 5

Producer– Catalyst Game Labs

Cost–  ~$5 at http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/130605/Shadowrun-Bullets–Bandages

TL; DR– One of the best products I can’t use! 93%


Basics– DON’T DIE ON ME!  Bullets and Bandages is a new product in the Shadowrun Options line.  These products will not be Shadowrun Missions legal, but they will provide extra character options and background on the world of 2075.  This book focuses on how to be and build a healer in the shadows.  The book starts with a story and moves to describing high threat response medical care.  After the fluff, the book moves to all the different skills, attributes, abilities, and tools a doctor will need if he’s/she’s going to be an effective member of a Shadowrun team.  The book also introduces a few qualities as well as a few optional advanced rules for treating injuries, care under fire, medical equipment, spells, drugs, armor modifications, and drones.


Fluff or Story– This book has a lot of fluff for a short book.  The book even starts with a short story of a runner needs some care on the fly and the standard opening page looking like the reader is logging onto the net.  I liked the depth that this book went to to add new aspects of medical care for a character.  If you want to know how medical care operates in the future, this is a book you need. 5/5


Crunch or Mechanics– This book goes into almost nauseating detail on how to make a real medical character.  All the stats you need, the gear you want, and the rules your patients will need to live by are covered here.  There is a lot in this short book, and if you want to add optional rules and make an amazing field medic, this is the book you and your GM need to both read. 5/5


Execution– This book was good, but here is where it shows a few flaws.  There is a lot there, but I think a few more pictures to break up the text would have really helped.  Also, a lot of the pages are two columns next to each other with the table you need to see a few pages ahead or back.  That is slightly annoying, but not a deal breaker by any means.  In general, it’s a great book, but a few layout problems and lack of art hurt the book slightly. 4/5


Summary– I loved this book.  I learned the scoop on DocWagon, and how medical care in the 2070’s works.  I love what I’ve read, but this book is firmly in the options line.  Since I mostly run con games or Mission games at my local store, this book is almost useless to me.  The fluff is amazing, so that part was great and informative.  But, I can’t use a single piece of crunch out of this book.  That’s a tragedy!  However, if you want to be the medic in the Shadowrunner squad, this is the book you need to start reading and give to your GM.  If you want to go down the rabbit hole of proper medical skill use, this is your one stop shop.  93%

Blurbs from the Booth- My time at Origins 2014  

I went to Origins, and this time I worked for Catalyst game labs.  How about we do a day by day run down of what I did, and what I thought.



This is a short day.  I got there around 5 PM, and I ran the quick demo table for Shadowrun.  I would run players through 20-40 minute Shadowrun demos and quick games of Shadowrun: Crossfire.  The quick demo table was loads of fun and, I got to play an awesome new game.

After that short shift, Catalyst had a closed meeting with all their grunts to discuss what was coming in the next year.  It’s always eye opening to see how the business of my fun/entertainment works.  Then, I got a goodie bag with a nice bowling shirt with the Catalyst logo on it.  Great times!  How about my thoughts on Shadowrun: Crossfire?  Sure!

Super Short Review of Shadowrun: Crossfire– The game is pretty good, but a little simple.  It’s a deck building game over multiple scenarios.  Each card has icons on the bottom focusing on either magic (blue), weapons (black), social (red), or technology(green).  For the beginner scenario, every player gets an obstacle card with a series of icons and numbers on the top like Red icon/3/Green icon/2.  Players take turns playing cards to use the card’s icons to solve the obstacles in front of each player following the order of icon on the obstacle card.  Continuing the example obstacle above: player one plays a red card and then three random cards with one icon each to solve the next two parts of the obstacle card.  On player two’s turn, he plays one card with an electronic icon, but can’t solve the problem so the problem damages him if it’s in front of him.  On player three’s turn, she plays two random cards for their icons, solves the problem, and all the players get a little money based on how much the obstacle is worth.

It’s a simple, fun game.  I like it, but I would like it to be a bit more complex.  Then again, I also only played a single, simple demo box example having read the rules about three minutes before I thought them.  I expect more to come from the real box along with being able to build up your characters and more deck customization.  I’m going to buy this thing like crazy.  Two things come to mind: 1) It’s Shadowrun, and my main problem with Shadowrun currently is there isn’t enough Shadowrun!  So, I’m getting this because it’s Shadowrun.  2) It’s a co-op game, and that is always fun.  Nothings is better on a cold MI winter night than curl up by the gaming table with the wife and play some co-op games.  I’m looking forward to this one.


Thursday started the con for real!  My job at this con was “Interactive Demo.”  Apparently I’m friendly and approachable?!  The Interactive Demo is a three person team that does a short (~15 minute) demo of Shadowrun.  Shadowrun has the ~completely~ undeserved reputation of being an unapproachable math nightmare, and it was my job to make that not true.  Catalyst made an amazing demo location by making a 10 foot high by 10 foot in diameter fabric tube.  The outside of the tube is the Seattle 2075 skyline, but the inside is the amazing part.  It’s the GM screen brought to life!  10 feet tall pictures of all the main antagonist set in the hottest bar in the future!  If you get the chance to do the demo in the future, DO IT!  Here is what the demo is.  One person brings you by and explains the Shadowrun world quickly and gives you a pregen character (YES PREGENS!  I love them, so SHUT UP THE PREGEN HATE!).  Next, you try to enter the club, but more often than not, you get accosted by the second person at the demo, the bouncer.  The bouncer makes you feel like you’re in the world and gets you to start role-playing right away.  After that, inside the tube is “Mr. Johnson.”  I cosplayed a frantic Ares elf scientist or a refined Horizon’s PR troll.  Here you got to the real meat of the game.  You meet Mr. Johnson, play really quickly, and have a blast.  I had a great time and showed a lot of people the glory that is Shadowrun.  But, eight hours on your feet is killer!  I finished my day with a nap then a work out.


Payday in the real world, so time to buy some con stuff!  Started off the day with working out, then another eight hours of interactive demo awesomeness!  Had a blast doing that and played a whole bunch of Shadowrun with a bunch of new players.  After my shift, I bought all my con events for the weekend, and then  I attended the Secret Gaming Cabal Podcast meet up and meet with a friend from MI.  I dragged him into a demo of Francis Drake.  That lasted till midnight.

Super Short Francis Drake Review- Francis drake is actually two games in one.  One is resource gathering, and the second is blind betting.  In game one, players take turns moving along a dock.  Each spot in the dock is a different resource they need for their travels and to overcome different obstacles at sea.  The interesting thing is you can never move backwards along the dock. You could skip to the last place on the dock as your first move.  If you finish first, you get to place first in the second game, but you have fewer resources.  In the second game, you place discs upside down with different priorities numbers 1-4 on different spaces to spend your resources for points from the first game.  Once all the discs are placed, players resolve their actions in number and then boat order i.e.  All the 1’s resolve, then the 2’s etc…  No one knows what priority you placed on any particular location, so a little bluffing goes a long way.  Player with the most points wins after three rounds.

It’s an interesting game.  I loved what I saw.  It was fun with lots of components, but the person who explained it to us was just a little off on the rules.  That made life a little hard as we kind of screwed up who won and how to play.  I want to pick this game up, but it’s going to have to be via Amazon as its $80 at the con!


Another day of waking up, exercise, and running Shadowrun interactive demo.  Working for Catalyst was a blast, and I look forward to doing it later.  But, it’s now my free time to enjoy the rest of the con.  I started by going to the Munchkin Tavern and spun the wheel for some free dice and playing a little Munchkin at a bar with some random people.

With an evening free I played two games.  The first was Zombiecide.  I smell a quick rundown…

Super Short Review Zombiecide- Zombiecide is a co-op game for one to six players.  Players are all trying to survive the zombie apocalypse through different scenarios.  Each turn, players get a number of actions that range from move, attack, search, open door, or other scenario specific things.  As players kill zombies, they gain experience.  When they get enough experience, new options open up for the characters as they level up.  After character actions, zombies move or attack.  Then, each zombie spawn point spawns zombies.  Here is the innovative part of this game.  At the start of the game, only a few zombies spawn.  However, as the players level up, more zombies spawn.  In fact, the player with the highest level determines how many zombies spawn, so LEVEL UP SMART and TOGETHER!  Players have two hit points.  One wound-you take a card that sits in your inventory, but two wounds-you’re dead! Each scenario determines how you win.  Our game was just get to the exit.

It’s a fun game, but it does seem like it will get kind of stale quick without a bunch of scenarios and expansions.  I had a blast, but the people who I played with were pretty cool and we all played smart/well together.


After Zombiecide, I moved to the Eagle Games area and played a game of Rococo.  I just wandered in, but I found some friends from AnCon.  They are a great group of guys who are working on their own game.  Another short review?  Sure!

Super Short Review of Rococo- In Rococo, you play a group of tailors trying to set up and gain the most renowned at a ball.  In terms of the game, it’s almost five games in one!  Each turn you select a number of cards (worker selection), you then take turns deciding which workers get to do which action (worker placement), one action is getting more workers ( deck building), and another action is to build dresses and either place them in the hall (area/terrain control) or sell them for money.  Each turn, you get your three actions/cards and any other cards you bought this round.  After each round, new people cards, dresses, and resources come into play.  The person with the most points at the end of the game is the best dress makers around!

I loved this game from start to end.  It was amazingly close in scoring with lots of different paths to victory.  Even though it was 10 at night on a day I’d been up since 6AM, I felt my brain just frantic with different ideas on what to do each turn!


Sad day!  The con ends today, so I had to pack up and say good bye.  However, it was my day to hit the dealer’s room!  Today was hard ball!  I stopped by the Catalyst area to say hi, and then I went to WORK.  I made stops all over, and got some great deals.  I was able to haggle a little and get a great deal on Boss Monster!  Then, I bought Knuckle Sammich from 9th Level (All Hail King Torg!).  I moved on and bought a copy of the convention area exclusive map for Trains.  I spent a while talking with the guys at Eagle games and got a great deal on a combo of Rococo, Fleet, and some fish meeples.  Heck I was even able to pick up a copy of Roll through the Ages from a kickstarter with this guys.  I also went to the Dice Hate Me booth and bought a copy of Carnival.  That one was a no brainer as Dice Hate Me was giving a huge discount over the MSRP on the last day of the con!  TAKE NOTE PEOPLE WHO SELL GAMES!  IF YOU GIVE ME A DEAL ON THE LAST DAY OF THE CON, IT WILL OVERRIDE LOGIC IN MY BRAIN, AND I WILL SPENT WAY TOO MUCH ON YOUR STUFF!  I also made some deals with Gamelyn Games and bought a copy of both fantasy Frontier and the expansion to Dungeon Heroes and netted some extra minis.  I was even able to talk to the Asmodee guys and get a discount on the Seasons expansions since they were the demo copies for the con.  Having spent way too much, I then wanted to get a few more games in and I went to Stronghold games and tried Voluspa.  That was an awesome tile laying game.  Too bad they ran out of the expansion for that, or I might have spent a bit more.  If you guys have a combo pack at Gen Con for the base and the expansion, I’m in!  Next, I found a random group playing Tanto Cuore.  I’ve never played before, so I joined it.  Tanto Cuore is what happens if you mix a fantasy maid anime with Dominion.  Not bad, but … know your theme before you go in!  The game ended up in a tie with me and the person demoing the game.  After that, it was a short four hour drive to MI to go home and see the wife and puppy.  God, this was a great con!


I can’t wait to go back next year.  I’m looking forward to working with the men and women of Catalyst to run some more games next year at the show.  I got to demo some awesome RPGs, play some great games, and make some amazing friends.  I love the Origins show a lot as it’s small enough that everybody gets to know one another.  This was a great time!

Silver Screen Smackdown- Maleficent

Movie– Maleficent

TL; DR– Great movie, but not a great retelling. 87%



Summary-How about a story from the other side?  Maleficent is the story of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty.  Maleficent starts off as a fey creature from a land locked in war with the land of men.  She is tricked, mutilated, and driven to evil cursing the first born of the human king.  But, how does the story play out looking from the other side?


Story– I have mixed feelings on this one.  The movie by itself is awesome.  I liked the plot.  The world is consistent, and the characters fit it in.  BUT, this is a retelling of another movie.  All the major elements from the first movie are there, but they don’t fit with how this movie changes them.  The elements are a bit too scattered to have the two work as being from different sides of the same coin.  Wicked did a god job of making the two sides work, this one gets close but almost falls into the uncanny valley of one looking like another.  The two are there, but as mirrors of one another they just don’t “work” on some levels for me.  3.5/5


Actors-All the actors do an amazing job, but a lot of them are not give enough time. You have Jolie doing an excellent job being a fairy, then evil queen, and finally a redemptive angel.  Copley does a good job slowly slipping into crazy too.  Sleeping beauty gets a bit of a roll, but it feels like she’s there pretty much to move those other two set pieces around one another. 4.5/5


Cinematography– Looks great.  All the characters look like they should.  The kings growing madness is reflected in his castle and the queens anger is reflected in her fey world.  As those actors/characters change so does their world.  Well done CGI. 5/5


Summary– This is an amazing stand alone move, but it’s not a standalone movie. As a semi-sequel, I felt the plot was a bit off.  The actors and cinematography are booth great.  If you want a good Disney movie with a bit more adult themes this summer, I’d check this one out! 87%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Edge of Tomorrow


Movie– Edge of Tomorrow

TL; DR– Tom Cruise and the Konami code! 93%



Basics– Tom Cruise plays a sleazy military recruiter who through his own fault is thrown into the worst military blunder in history.  While there, he accidently eats a piece of a time traveling alien, gaining the power to reverse time when he dies.  He embarks on a quest to become the hero and save the human race one continue at a time.


Story– This is an excellent single serving Sci-Fi movie.  In a few short minutes, you learn the problems of the world, see how the world works, and jump right in the action.  I loved that.  Rapid pace made the fact that many scenes were direct repeats of one another very awesome and fun to watch.  I watched the same day over 3000 times and didn’t get tired of it!  Ending is a bit too much Deus ex machina for the heroes, but it will do. 5/5


Actors– I really liked all the major players in this one.  Cruise does an excellent asshole who learns to be a hero.  The Emily Blunt, the female lead, does a good job too, but she’s a bit too much of a tough as nails bitch through most of the movie.  The secondary characters all don’t get enough time to really develop themselves, and that truly is a shame!  Those guys are almost as interesting as the main characters! 4/5


Cinematography– I loved this, hands down.  Things look cool and fresh even after the 300th time through the world.  I loved everything I saw.  Robot suits and aliens are an awesome mix in big budget well done movies! 5/5


Summary– It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It’s great single serving Sci-Fi that tells a great story with great actors.  I DON’T want a sequel as this movie told all the story it needs too.  I felt this was an excellent meal from the salad course opening to the desert course.  Well worth your time to see this movie! 93%

Book Bout- Book Review of Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Story-Night of the Hunter Companions Codex, I

Author– R. A. Salvatore

Buy It Herehttp://www.amazon.com/Night-Hunter-Companions-Codex-I/dp/0786965118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403096780&sr=8-2&keywords=NIght+of+the+Hunter


TL; DR– Almost TL; DR! 57%

Audiobook Extra– Well done performance. 4/5


Basics– Drizzit’s back!  With all his friends back from the void, Drizzit embarks on an epic quest to save his one time friend turned vampire.  Along the way, drow scheme to take over the world and kill one another.  What are the drow up to now, can Drizzit stop it, and what is Drizzit’s place in the world?


Story- I suffered through this because I love the realms.  There is just way too much going on at any given time to make me really interested in one thing.  Too many plots with too many moving parts made me not care about any one in particular.  Unlike the Game of Thrones, I didn’t care about any one of the plots to make me want to see them juggled.  Also, since every main character is bad ass, I never was worried about any one character in particular.  Drizzit will survive and be as self absorbed as ever as he battles monsters but still wonders if HE is the monster…like every other Drizzit book.  Honestly, the most exciting thing will happen in the last moment of the book, and even that is pulling a punch.  1.5/5


Characters- No one here is consistent.  All the characters want to be the good guys, but they are acting pretty neutral to evil!  Also, all the work that the characters did before is being undone (no surprise), but the actions seem massively out of place for the characters.  Most of them worship a nature god of good, but all of them are moving toward an ork genocide.  (Don’t worry; events behind the scenes are making that genocide ok!)  I felt things were just off. But, Drizzit is as much a stable rock as ever, and he gets the most screen time, so it’s a wash. 3/5


Setting– This is the Forgotten Realms.  People, places, and things all feel like a FR DnD Game.  I was pretty happy living in this world, but then again, I’m also a veteran of the realms.  I think your average person will need a bit more introduction to know all the background the author is playing with though. 4/5


Summary– This was kind of painful.  I alternated between podcasts and this story to get through it.  Nothing hooked me and the characters seemed off, but I did like the setting.  To me it seems that the author is working to dismantle his own work piecewise, and given Mr. Salvatore thoughts on 4e DnD, I believe that’s what he’s doing right now.  Will I read the next book?  Yes, but keep in mind that I also will sit and play a boss battle for four hours straight to get to the end of a video game to the point where this is now a job and no longer fun.  I want to know what’s going on in the realms, so I’ll endure the next book.  If that’s not for you, then choose accordingly. 57%


Audiobook Extra– The reader of the audiobook does a good job.  I’d like a bit more emotion, but he does do a decent job of making the characters come to life. 4/5

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Tokaido Crossroads: The First Expansion

Game– Tokaido Crossroads: The First Expansion

Producer– Passport Games

Price– ~$20

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 45 minutes

TL; DR– Additional choice for a great game 95%


Basics– Greetings traveler, what can I get you?  The Crossroads expansion for Tokaido adds more characters and location options to the Tokaido base game.  Now, each space has two options instead of the standard one.  Players can take the option from the original game or take new options such as gambling instead of working at the farm, getting blessed items at the temple instead of donations, and buying legendary items at the shops.  The game still has the same goals, and the person with the most points wins at the end of the game as usual.


Mechanics– This expansion adds an interesting mix to the game.  It’s fun, but some of the new mechanics are almost too different than the previous game.  The gambling mechanic doesn’t have the same euro feel as the base game as it’s a straight dice roll.  I do like what I see with this game though.  The new options add some much needed choices.  You still get a random draw for most of the locations, but now you have two decks to draw from.  Adding those new decks brings some new life to this game.  I liked it before, and I still like it now.  4.5/5


Theme– For theme, this is better than the original.  You’re on a journey, and this expansion really adds some new options to your adventure.  The option like buying a blessing instead of a donation does add to the feeling of being on the open road.  I don’t feel a railroaded as I did before.  I feel more like a tourist in feudal Japan now more than ever. 5/5


Instructions– Well done.  The new rules are explained well, and some points are really well clarified BEFORE I have to run to BGG to find some answers.  This expansion isn’t a brain buster, but the rules do tell you how to play well. 5/5


Execution– This expansion has the same minimalistic style of the original game.  Its sleek, white packaging is well done.  The cards are the same small, good cardstock as before.  The characters are the same hard cardboard as before.  It also adds a nice new board for the new cards which is a nice touch.  I liked what I saw before, and I like what I see now.  It is a little expensive for the amount you get in the expansion though. 4.5/5


Summary– I liked this one a lot.  Tokaido needed a bit of fresh life as the game can get a little stale if you play with the same players.  The base game is a good, light euro game, but this game adds a bit more randomness and some more choice.  That choice really adds a lot to the replay of this game.  The expansion isn’t more of the same, and that my affect some player’s views.  But, I liked it.  Well done instructions and components compliment the great theme and additional mechanics of the game.  A great expansion for when you want a bit more choice in a lighter game. 95%