Daily Punch 2-15-15 Knowledge is Power quality for Shadowrun 5e

If you can use a what you know in DnD, how about being able to do the same in Shadowrun?


Knowledge is Power

Cost: 5 karma

You know how to walk the walk, but more important, how to talk the talk.  So much so the silver-tongued devil that you are is almost as impressive as how book smart you are.  When you make a Charisma roll with any skill in the influence skill group, you may add your ranks in a relevant knowledge skill to the dice pool.  You must be invoking the knowledge to gain these bonus dice.  You can not gain these extra dice on a roll where you do not mention the skill.




Daily Punch 2-24-15 Knowledge is Power feat for DnD 5e

I’ve been thinking about how to combine skills in DnD 5e.  Here’s a feat that does some of what I’d like to add to the system.


Knowledge is Power

You’re good at talking to people, but better when you’ve got some knowledge of what your talking about.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your intelligence or wisdom by +1 to a maximum of 20.
  • When you make a Charisma(persuasion), Charisma(deception), or Charisma(intimidate) check and have proficiency in a relevant skill, you may double your proficiency bonus for that check if you include information from that knowledge in your check.  In the case of expertise, you triple your proficiency bonus, not quadruple.

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review Brew Crafters


Product– Brew Crafters

Producer– Dice Hate Me Games

Price– $60 here http://www.dicehatemegames.com/games/brew-crafters/

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 90 minutes (2-4 players)



TL; DR-An excellent intro to hard core Eurogames with a clean aftertaste. 97%


Basics-Crack open a cold one!  In Brew Crafters, players take the role of different microbrewers trying to be the local best.  While this is a Eurogame through and through, it’s actually not that complicated.  Each turn is divided into two basic rounds.  Round one is action selection at a market.  Here each player takes turns placing two meeples on different market spaces that get you money, the first player marker, specialist for your brewery, hops, malt, yeast, and special ingredients.  Next, players enter the brewery and place their brewery worker meeples on either brew beer, expand, or research with multiple workers from multiple players being able to take the same action.  To brew beer you have to spend the ingredients for each type of brew, and then the brew enters the pipeline.  The initial pipeline brews one beer at a time, but it takes two extra brew actions to be able to sell that beer.  When you start to brew a beer, you get victory points for the brew.  Also, if you are the first player to brew a beer, you also score extra points.  The expand action gets extra locations for your brewery from a garden that makes fruit or hops to a tasting room that brews beers in two rounds instead of three.  The research option lets you move up tech tracks that start by giving you extra resources, provides a resource every four turns in winter, increases productivity, and ends with a way to story extra victory points at the end of the game.  Each turn is one season starting with spring moving all the way to winter.  At the end of each year’s winter, each player has to pay for their brewery workers, specialist, and add-ons to their brewery.  If you can’t pay for your additions, you get money from the bank, but take a small victory point penalty.  At the end of three years, the player with the most victory points wins.


Mechanics– This game is deviously simple for a middleweight Eurogame.  Place two workers to buy ingredients, then place one action worker to do stuff at the brewery.  That will be about ~60% of your turns till you get a second action worker.  That seems simple, but the complexity comes from what that brewery worker does in your factory.  Players get a ton of options, and finding the best interplay of those options is how you win, and you don’t need encyclopedic knowledge of the rules to find that optimization strategy.  And, just like any good euro out there, just because you find one working strategy doesn’t mean it won’t get trounced during the next play through as the other players may be refining a strategy of their own.  It’s all amazingly well done as the mechanics work together like a well-made clock. 5/5


Theme- I liked this one.  I did feel like I was creating a microbrewery from the funny names of the beers to the farmers market where I got the ingredients to brew.  Also, the mechanic of not having to pay until the end of a year is interesting twist in the theme and mechanics.  I don’t pay to build on the brewery at the time, but I have to pay a bank for the loan to build my stuff and pay my workers after a bit of time.  That honestly feels more real than paying up front like in other Eurogames.  Like all themes in Euro-worker placement games, there are a few hiccups like “why can’t I buy more hops from somewhere else?”, but overall this is a slam dunk. 4.8/5


Instructions– The rule book is thick, but not too heavy.  It describes the rules well.  It’s thick but not so heavy to be overwhelming.  That said, I don’t want to give a backhanded compliment, but this game does the absolutely best at the worst thing in game design.  The game makes use of both iconographies to show some action as well as some wordy patches.  That’s not bad, but the heaviest word section is the different additions to the brewery and how they affect game play.  All of the brewery additions can’t be written in simple symbols. So the book does do a deep, well done explanation of each addition.  Also, each player gets a player card that describes how each place works in the brewery.  That in my opinion is the best way to deal with the bad situation of complex addition in a game.  It’s not perfect.  It’s a little clunky, but it does do a good job of getting the rules across.  4.5/5


Execution– More videos!?  I put up an unboxing video to show off all the components of this game right here http://youtu.be/7ONr50Lvfo4 . And, man, are there a ton!  All the pieces are well done and made from some nice chunky cardboard.  I like what’s in this box.  Nothing’s like a five pond board game.  I would have liked some more bags, but bags did come with this box so I’ll take what I can get.  Keeping your parts organized will be the best thing you can do to keep this game playable.  If your parts get mixed up, you are going to hate the amount of time it will take to play the game the next time.  But for $60 bucks, you get a ton of well done stuff in this heavy package.  5/5


Summary– This is an awesome version of Agricola that I can get my wife to play.  It’s got development of your property while still having worker placement, action selection, resource management, and tough choices while not being the punishing experience that Agricola can be.  Even if you don’t get what you want, you can still get some great options that allow you to build for you next turn.  I get all the fun development aspects of the classic worker placement Eurogames while not having the getting destroyed because I didn’t get the option I needed that turn.  That right there makes this a great introduction to hard core Eurogames.  Great components, theme, and mechanics make this an awesome game. 97%

Daily Punch 2-23-14 Reactive Stealth feat for Dnd 5e

Sorry for being away for a bit there.  Something has to pay for my board game addiction, and sometimes that my actually job.  Let’s hop back into this with a feat I feel most of my players want in DnD 5e!



Reactive Stealth

You’re a master of stealth.  Even when you do badly, it’s almost impossibly to fail.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your dexterity by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • When you roll a stealth check and fail, you may take a -5 penalty and reroll.  You  must accept the result of this second roll.

Daily Punch 2-16-15 Lich Bloodline Sorcerer

If you get power from you life blood as a 5e sorcerer, could you get power from you unlife blood?  Let’s find out


Lich Bloodline Sorcerer

Be it a magic ritual gone wrong or simply the touch of the grave, you have gained magic power at the escalating cost of losing your life essence.  Maybe you are searching for a cure.  Maybe you enjoy the power the comes and don’t mind the cost of your soul.


Between Life and Death

At first level, you’ve started to gain the pallor of the dead.  You gain resistance to all non-magical weapon attacks from creatures with a CR of 1/2 your level or below as well as necrotic resistance.  Gain the Chill Touch cantrip, but this spell now has a range of touch.


Command Minions

Starting at 6th level, you gain the bonus spell animate dead at the highest spell level you can cast.  Add your charisma modifier to the any undead you animated attack rolls and ability checks.


Phylactery Construction

Starting at 14th, you’ve learned enough about what your about to become to truly master some aspects of it.  You can construct a Phylactery at no cost for your first one.  If you die, you appear next to it in 1d4 days at full hit points with no negative effects or any other effects you were under when you died.  You may not be resurrected via any other methods now.  If your first phylactery is destroyed, you may spend 1000 gp to rebuild it.


True Lich

Starting at 18 level, your apotheosis to the undead is complete.  You are now a complete lich.  You no longer sleep, eat, drink, or breath.  Gain a +3 bonus to your armor class for natural armor as you become withered flesh and bone.  You gain resistance to cold and lightning damage as well as resistance to all non magical weapon damage.  You can not be charmed, exhausted, frightened, paralyzed, or poisoned.

Daily Punch 2-13-15 Diabolic Druid feat for DnD 5e

It’s Friday the 13th.  How about an evil druid feat?  Maybe your druid sees order in devils?  Let’s help you with that


Diabolic Druid

Prerequisite: druid, LN, LE, or NE alignment

Devils are your masters.  Nature follows it’s own rules of law, and you ensure those laws are followed.  Just like any good contract.  Also nature can not break it word, just like any contract.  This strictness to the word of natures law has taken you down a dark path, but rewarded you with your own power.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Gain a +1 bonus to wisdom to a maximum of 20.
  • When you use your Wild Shape feature, you can change in to fiend(devil) subtype in addition to beast.  You must follow all other rules for Wild Shape.  However, you may become an imp when you take this feat but can not fly higher then 10 feat of the ground until the Wild Shape allows you a fly speed.



Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Synthicide Preview

Product– Synthicide

System– Synthicide

Producer– Will Power Games

Price– Prekickstarter Preview!  Check http://www.synthiciderpg.com/ for more information

TL; DR– Firefly, Terminator, Mad Max and Mutant Chronicles combined with sleek RPG mechanics 93%




Basics– Man has explored the cosmos, fallen into war, and crashed back into barbarism.  Now, the Tharnaxis Church (a cult of synthetic humanoids) rules the worlds relegating humans to second class citizens.  How will you survive in a galaxy that doesn’t care for you?


Mechanics or Crunch– Let’s walk through the different aspects of this system as there is, alternating, a ton and not much to cover:


Base Mechanics– This game uses a single 10-sided dice for everything.  Want to shoot a guy?  Roll d10+Combat+bonuses (Combat is its own statistic in this game).  Seduce a robot? d10+Influence+bonuses.  This is either verses a pre determined value such as a armor value or verses a Action Difficulty (think a threshold or a DC) for both cases.  Also, your statistics do not have some value you need to determine: a Combat 1 is a +1 bonus to combat rolls, and an Influence 4 is +4 to influence rolls.  Unlike Pathfinder/D&D, I don’t have to do simple math to determine what my bonus is.  It’s quick and clean with no little fiddly bits added on, just the way I like it.


Combat-Combat is interesting as it’s point based.  You get a number of points based on your half your Speed score + 3 (divided down).  Your first attack costs 1 point, your next cost 2, and your third costs 3.  Moves are 1, while defending is 2.  It’s easy, but allows for a player to gamble on what they want to do.  Don’t want a defense bonus for the round?  Make that second attack.  Want a bonus to your rolls that round?  Spend 2 actions to get a bonus.  It’s different from the D&D/Pathfinder move/attack/swift mechanic, and I enjoy the flexibility it provides.  Also, as you move around on the battle field, some weapons allow for quick attacks (think attacks of opportunity from D&D/Pathfinder), but only some weapons.  You can’t quick attack with a claymore, but a dagger works just fine.  This is another interesting nod to reality I liked.


Damage-Above I mention that basics are d10+ability+bonuses.  If that roll hits, damage is the same d10 roll+combat+weapon damage.  I like that how well you hit also determines how well you damage the target.  You don’t reroll the d10, you just keep the same d10 roll from before.  I’ve complained before about how a d20 roll of 17 and a d20 roll of 10 can equally hit the AC 10 orc for the same damage of d8.  This system gets past that problem by factoring damage and attack at the same time.  WELL DONE!


Character Generation and Leveling Up-Characters are created by selecting human, mutants, part robot, or all robot providing some base statistics.  From there you choose an aspect that adds statistics onto the base stats to make your custom character and use point buy to get traits to further specialize your character.  It feels like any other point buy with one key difference.  Point buy will always win for specialization for character generation, but will lose to simpler systems in the time required.  However, Synthicide will hopefully roll out of the gate with a character generator.  The NPC one works great, but the preview did not come with player character side.  Characters earn experience points called trait points (TP).  Your character levels up when you have four gross TP not net TP meaning you have a running total of how much you have earned and a total you currently have.  You can constantly be spending TP to refine your character, but still moving toward leveling up.


Psychic Powers- Synthicide is an RPG that wants to stay rooted in science fiction without crossing over into fantasy like Shadowrun does.  To add “magic” to the system, the game adds psychic powers.  They are well done, and something you may be able to buy based on the physical body you have (complete machine people can’t use psychic powers).  For the most part, these powers are either limited to a number of times per day based on your influence ability or are free to use as much as you want.  Also, something I really enjoy, some powers can be super charged for extra effects that cause you to take damage.  I love cast-till-you-pass-out systems!


Drama-In addition to current almost standard ideas of giving players some chips to cash in for rolls and rerolls based on storytelling and role-play, this game also adds a drama system.  Drama is a number that is added to and subtracted from as the game progresses by player rolls and actions.  When the dam breaks, the drama score gives the GM a guide line on how to add interesting elements to the game on the fly.  It’s a fun, optional system that can help a GM better add to his/her world by integrating more of the players actions as well as dice rolls.


Summary- Synthicide isn’t perfect, but for the most part it’s well done.  A bit more explanation as well as a few more examples like a full combat example and some tables will really help the system.  However, this is a kickstarer preview.  If this is where the game is starting, then they are well on their way to an excellent product!  It got sleek combat and general mechanics.  The rules flow easily, and in general, everything is just set up to be user friendly.  Nothing feels bloated.  I’d like a bit more, but what’s here is ready for show time. 4.75/5


Theme or Fluff- This was a pre-kickstarter preview of the RPG, so I didn’t expect much.  But, I was surprised.  The game has a very fleshed-out world (Or should I say worlds?).  Even the Game Master section of the rules tells you to emphasize how little the world likes the characters.  The one sentence explanation of the story is Man went to the stars, made mutants and went to war with mutants, crashed into the near Stone Age while artificial intelligence took over the galaxy relegating humans/mutants to second class citizens. I get the feeling from this game of a recipe made from equal parts Firefly, Terminator, Mad Max and Mutant Chronicles.  Honestly, that’s a fun place to be if you want a post-apocalyptic space opera with elements of racism and the struggle to survive.  It can use more, but the version I have didn’t have any pictures, so more art will really help this one blossom. 4.5/5


Execution– I received a PDF of the game.  I usually harp a lot on spaces and art, but I’m putting that aside as this is a preview.  What is part of the PDF is the basic system, and honestly it’s done.  The thing I have in my hands would be something you could easily get on Drive Thru RPG for cheap.  That’s an excellent place for a kickstarter to be.  It just needs to be cleaned up a bit by adding art, more white space, and some tables.  Tables would really help some of this product by giving short summaries of what the different traits do.  That’s my major complaint so far is summaries and short tables would help things.  But what is explained and laid out well are the base mechanics and such.  That was a present surprise in an over hundred page PDF.  However, what also came with the preview package were the tools to make non-playable characters.  This RPG doesn’t have a monster manual, and while I want one, it does come with some tools to make characters on the fly with a computer.  That right there is awesome as it comes lock, stock, and barrel with a character generator and slightly ironic as now I’m building machine enemies on my laptop.  Overall, a well done RPG that’s ready to roll for it’s kickstarter debut. 4.75/5


Summary– I like what I see here.  This RPG went up to kickstarter, but was pulled to be refined.  I didn’t get a chance to read the original RPG, but if that lead to what I see now, that was an excellent idea!  What I read through is an easy to read, run, and play RPG set in an interesting galaxy.  It’s not done as it has now art and needs a few minor improvements to really make this one a grand slam.  But, when those are added to the final PDF/book, I think this will be a phenomenal RPG.  It doesn’t bog down the world and mechanics with unimportant garbage just like the mission statement of the company said they wanted to do.  This is one to keep your eyes on! 93%

Daily Punch 2-12-15 Conservative Spellmaster feat for DnD 5e

Let’s continue the feats for DnD 5e with another for the Sorcerer.


Conservative Spellmaster

Prerequisite: Sorcerer, metamagic feature

You are a master of casting spells using a limited amount of power. Gain the following benefits:

  • Reduce the spell point cost of metamagic powers by 1 to a minimum of 1.
  • Gain an extra pool of five spell points.  If you would reduce the cost of a metamagic application to zero spell points, use one of these extra spell points.  These extra spell points return when you take a long rest.



Ring Side Report-Board Game Review Dwarves, Inc.

Product– Dwarves, Inc.

Producer– Assa Games

Price– I got a prerelease copy!  Here’s the general website http://www.assagames.com/default.htm

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes (2-4 players)



TL; DR– A surprisingly deep game of stock market manipulation and underground mining. 98%


Basics-Let’s get rich!  Dwarves, Inc is a game of mining underground trying to strike it rich. The game is deceptively simple.  Players assemble a modular board of nine squares with the only rule being that the center square is the square with all of the different types of start locations for each mining company.  On a players turn, that player will select three gems and place them on the game board extending a company’s mines off of already played gems.  Some spaces you cannot cross, unless you have a card that says you can, and are marked in red.  If a play extends the mine into a specific space that player gets something for his/her player board.  These space bonuses range from finding extra dwarves who score gold later, tunnels to teleport across the game board, lock boxes to put more gems in your player board safe, treasure chests to earn random effect cards, and gold cashes to earn gold.  The player with the most gold wins, but how you earn gold is the interesting part.  When a mine extends to a cash of gold, all players look to see who has the most gems of the company’s type that landed on the gold space each player in their player board safe.  The person with the most gets a number of gold depending on their number of dwarves.  The person who has the second most gems of that type gets less gold per dwarf they have on their board.  And finally, if the person who extended the mine onto the gold space didn’t get gold because other players had more of that company’s gems on their player board, then that player gets a smaller amount of gold.  Each player starts with four different types of gems (the player’s choice) and four dwarves.  After extending the mines for on a player’s turn, that player can trade one gem from their player board for a different gem from the bank.  Once all the different gold cashes on the map have been claimed by the various companies, the games over and the player with the most gold wins!



Mechanics– This game feels simple, but it’s nothing like that.  The entirety of you turn is placing three gems, and then exchange up to one gem in your storage area.  But, the manipulation of how mines/companies are extended is amazing.  Do you remember that simple game where you have to complete boxes on a field of dots one line a turn, but whoever completes the box get points?  This game feels like that in a good way. Having the most gems of a type is good, but having too many of a type is not great.  You have to subtly manipulate the gem stock market to make other players think that they can score more points than you.  Also, making sure off turn other players are earning you gems by having the second most gems is an amazing way to get ahead.  It’s a surprisingly devious game that plays out in a relatively short time span.  I love it! 4.8/5


Theme- The theme isn’t perfect, but for as quick as this game is, I love what I see. The game uses these little gems for everything which is amazing and a tiny bit off.  The gems represent your investment in a company and work great in your safe box, but at the same time they are also used as your tunnels on the board.  That’s the little bit off part.  But I do like the nice tactile feel of them.  Aside from my nitpicking on that, the game does feel “dwarfy” enough.  The dwarf companies are competing underground at digging companies and you are alternating between directing them and speculating on their progress.  More dwarves will earn your more gold as more dwarves can do more work.  Overall, this does feel like an underground dwarf game even with my tiny nitpicking criticisms.  4.8/5


Instructions– The instructions are short, but really well put together.  There is enough white space for the rules to be read quickly, and the explanation is done really well.  I was playing this game in less than 5 minutes from cracking open the box.  No fuss, no muss, just well done rules that explained things for me. 5/5


Execution– It’s time for a video!  I did an unboxing video for this game, so check it out here!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJDLmxWt2rI  I have a preproduction copy, but this is what you can expect to get in the box.  In the theme section of this review, I mentioned how I had some problems with the gems, but I’m of two minds on this one.  Unless Assa game cranked up the cost of the game and made little dwarf meeples, gems do a decent-to-good job representing the mines and investment in the different companies.  I do like the nice 3D shape that they are and the feel that have.  The board is well done and the modularity makes for some replay even with how short this game is.  I even like the cards.  The event cards are not the standard cardboard that most games are, but the newer plastic cards I’ve seen more often lately.  I know it’s new and feels a bit different, but honestly, I prefer the plastic over the older stuff as the cards don’t fray as quickly.  All told, this is a well done game. 5/5


Summary– I have almost nothing bad to say about this game.  It’s a fun game who’s strategy comes at you like a sidewinder snake.  If you take this game as a simple game about mining dwarves, you will lose.  If you really think about your choices and learn to manipulate your fellow players, you stand a good chance of winning.  And I like that.  This game does not have Twilight Struggle levels of strategy, but this game is also easily playable in 30 minutes.  And it’s teachable in less than five minutes out of the box.  You will spend more time opening this game then having to explain this game, and that’s the sign of a good game.  It’s well worth your time and your money.  I look forward to what Assa Games comes up with next. 98%