Daily Punch 5-20-15 RALLY! positive quality for Shadowrun 5e

I was watching a few action movies, and I think my trog with a combat ax would like something like this.

RALLY!

Cost: 7 per level (1 to 3 levels)

We all get pumped when we put a fragger down.  Some get even more pumped when they do it the hard, handheld way.  When you deliver the killing or knock out blow with a melee weapon, you may immediately heal a number of stun boxes equal to your levels in this quality as you are filled with adrenalin from the kill!

Thoughts?

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Blurbs from the Booth-My time at Heroicon!

Last weekend I had the pleasure to head down to Decatur, IL to run Shadowrun.  It was a blast.  This is the first year for a new con called Heroicon, and they are doing things right from the start.  Let’s hit a few high points:

  • Open table signs-You never know what’s open at a con. Small cons don’t have as exhaustive pre-con sign ups, and this one was no exception.  But, they had visible signs at each table that told passersby if a table was open.  Well done!  A suggestion-Have each table also have an event list with times.  Saw this at AnCon, and it is my favorite organization idea I’ve seen in a long time!
  • Free GM badges-I drove six hours to get to the con. I’m scheduled 12 hours for game demos.  I’m here to make games happen, and I hate when cons then ask me to pay money to run games for them.  Heroicon didn’t!  That already makes me feel good before I even leave my house in Michigan.
  • Price-This is a small con, and attendees shouldn’t have to pay GenCon prices for Decatur, IL games. And they didn’t!  One day with unlimited gaming was $15!  Want three days?  that’s $25.  Want free cold food all con with all the soda you can drink and unlimited gaming?  $60 for the VIP.  I spoke to a VIP, and he told me it was well worth it.  Feeding two guys and myself was over $60, so I should have bought the VIP pass anyway!  Also, FREE GAMING!  You spend money on the badge, and that’s it.  You don’t need crazy extra tickets.  Again, great job!
  • Game Library-Love cons with games you can just play. This one was good, but it wasn’t the GenCon game library.  Those guys/gals are close buy.  Next year you might want to talk to them. However, I was happy to just see a game lending library there!
  • Dealer room-There were a few dealers on hand. There was even a good selection of goods out there with a few people pitching kickstater projects.  Good to see new blood in the community!
  • People- Very friendly, very open, and very helpful. I had just spent several hours on I57, so I wasn’t lucid or in a good mood, but the con organizers all helped me find my spot and get running games like a champ.  That will fix your angry driving mode in a hurry!
  • Magic Tournament Room-If you have a con over a Friday night, you need a Magic event. I don’t even play Magic and I know that’s a rule!  They had one.
  • Game Variety-I ran Shadowrun. I also talked with Paizo GMs, the local Local Coordinator for DnD, Warhammer addicts, and board gamers alike.  Lots of different games make for a good con.
  • Room Price-Had I had a bit of extra cash, I’d have stayed an extra day. Its $80 bucks for a day.  For a hotel that is really decent, that’s a steal!

All and all, this is a great local convention that I can’t wait to go back to next year.  I met some good people, played some great games, and had a blast.  Check out HeroiCon at http://www.heroicon.org/  and I hope they run this next year!

Daily Punch 5-19-15 Acid Wave Spell for Shadowrun 5e

You know what my favorite type of element in Shadowrun is?  Acid!  Almost no one preps for it, it’s a dirty way to get out of a room (the way), and it eats the enemy’s armor to boot!  Let’s build on what’s in Shadow Spells

Acid Wave

(Direct, Elemental)

Type: P  Range: S(A)   Damage: P

Duration: S    Drain: F+1

Why throw a ball of acid, when you can be at it’s center?  Acid Wave sends a wave of corrosive acid in all direction around you destroying everything in your and it’s path.  This repeats every combat turn as the caster’s first action if it is sustained while not hurting the caster.  However, everything else int the area is damaged by the corrosive effects of the spell.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Dead of Winter

Product– Dead of Winter

Producer-Plaid Hat Games

Price– $75 here http://www.amazon.com/Dead-of-Winter-Crossroads-Game/dp/B00HFKITJC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432091044&sr=8-1&keywords=dead+of+winter

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 45-120 minutes (2-6 players)

Type-American

Depth-Medium

TL; DR– Battlestar Galactica meets Zombicide.  89%

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Basics-Can you survive the winter with the dead outside?  Dead of Winter is a simple American style game where player take the role of a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse.  At the start players choose a scenario with a victory condition as well as each player receiving a secret goal that can range from getting enough of one item to a traitor card who has to undermine each other player!  Next, players receive starting items and choose two characters out of four possible options.

Each round the players uncovers a new problem that they must face.  These problems require players to spend a number of cards to solve or more enemies will be added and the players will lose moral, a general survivability of the colony that when it reaches zero the players lose.  Then, all players roll dice equal to the number of characters they control.  These dice can be spent to do actions with no limit to the number of actions each individual character you control can do.  Next, each player takes their individual turns, but here’s the catch- before a player starts his/her turn, another player draws a crossroad card.  A crossroad card is a random event that may happen that turn depending on what characters are in play, actions the player does, and even the number of cards in the discard/garbage pile!  The current player spends dice to take actions that range from attacking zombies, searching, building barricades, and some character specific abilities.  The number rolled on the die really only count for combat and searching.  Each character has a search value and a combat value.  If you spend a dice for either of those actions with a value equal to or higher than the characters search or combat result for search or combat, you succeed on your search or combat and get to draw a searched card or kill a zombie.  Thus, you know you will be successful before you even attempt your turn.

What makes this more interesting is the exposure die for combat and moving.  The exposure die is a 12-sided die with over half he faces being no result, a few are damage, less are frostbite, and one is a tooth.  The damage icons do one damage.  All characters have three hit points.  Frostbite does damage each turn which can quickly kill a character, and the tooth means a character is bitten.  Bitten characters instantly die, and then another character could become bitten.  Each character also has an influence value, and after a character is bitten, the lowest influence value in the bitten characters location becomes the target of the bite giving that character’s controller two options: kill the character and end the bite OR roll the exposure die.  Roll anything besides no result, and the new bitten character dies and the process repeats.  Also, when players move between locations, players roll the exposure die to see if the traveling goes smoothly.  Traveling between the different locations doesn’t cost an action, BUT does risk damage from the exposure die.  Barricades provide a temporary buffer against zombies.  If a zombie would be placed on a barrier, you remove the barrier and that zombie.  Players can also spend cards to do the action on the card or spend them face down to try to solve the problem for this round.  Each chard has a symbol, and enough cards must be spent or the negative effect of the rounds card event occurs.  Traitors can also spend cards with different symbols that count AGAINST the other player’s cards.  After the player has spent all his/her dice, play progresses around the table until its back to the first player.  Then the round’s problem card is resolved, for good or ill!  Next, zombies are placed at all the different locations; one per character at outer locations and one for every two characters at the central location.  If a zombie would be placed and there is not a zombie space available, then the character with the lowest influence at that spot is instantly killed!  A new problem for the round is revealed, the first player marker passes, and the turn starts anew.

What makes this game novel is the hidden goals each player has.  Not only do you have to meet the major goal for each game, but you have to complete your own goal.  In this co-operative game, you can lose while everyone else wins!  Players win by completing their goal, and can lose if the game goes too many rounds or if moral drops to zero.  Moral decreases whenever a character dies, through the crossroads cards, or a failing a round problem card.  While all of this is going on a traitor could be in your midst spending the wrong cards to cause events to fail and has his/her own goal where they succeed if everybody else fails AND they have the proper items or characters to win.  Even the traitor can lose if they don’t have their gear ready when everybody else loses!

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Mechanics– I was serious before, this game feels like a mix of two great tastes making something better.  You have the card use of Battlestar Galactica for hidden card resolution and turn events with the simplistic combat of Zombicide.  Those two things work amazingly well together.  This game is MUCH more swingy then Zombicide as dice dictate actions and combat results, but once you know your dice for a turn, you pretty can plan out your turn.  It’s quick, easy to play, and not any more complicated than it needs to be.  The crossroads cards are fun, but they might have been a bit over sold.  You do have random events happen, but I expected something a bit more intricate.  What does happen is about one out of every four turns, something unexpected will happen.  It does add something interested, but don’t expect the moon.  4.5/5

 

Theme– Here is where things are a bit off.  The majority of the theme is great.  Players fight zombies, struggle for items, and in general are the proper amount of miserable as the fun from this game comes from a hard co-op experience.  But, some things don’t quite fit.  Players lose moral for the number of cards in the discard pile.  You can spend a die to clean some, but honestly that’s kind of such a weird concept.  “Yep, zombies are killing my friends, but I’m sad that Steve didn’t take out the garbage!”  One game I chose the school janitor as one of my characters so I could clean garbage.  That’s not as much fun (or exactly as much fun) as you’d think it would be in the zombie apocalypse.  The game uses a few abstractions to bring things in like how combat is instantly resolved as its part of survival, but not the whole part.  Overall, its fun, feels like zombies in winter, but isn’t perfect as a few minor things keep it from being a slam dunk.  4.25/5

Instructions– Here is the worst part of the game.  It’s pretty simple rules that read relatively quick, but they bury a lot of the leads.  There are very intricate rules that should be followed that are not expressed as importantly as they should be.  Sure, you can play in about five minutes, but you WILL miss something important.  The game comes with some nice player boards, but they leave out important information that would really help a new player like when and how many zombies to add to each location.  The rules are not bad, but they are not as well layout out or emphasized as I’d like.  4/5

Execution– I really like how Plaid Hat puts their games together.  It’s a well done game with lots of parts, tons of standees with great detail, and lots of small things like intro paragraphs to each game, and epilogues for each victory and traitor win.  This is a theme game (don’t play this if you want a Euro experience!), and Plaid Hat delivers on that.  Even the first player marker is a big knife cardboard token!  Well done.  Also if you want to see my unboxing of the game check this like out: https://youtu.be/nOgN3v8OiqY 5/5

Summary-If you want a great game that has absolute kick in the teeth difficulty, then this is your game.  If you want a co-op with lots of story built in, this is your game.  If you want deep mechanics that are completely new and different, then this is NOT your game.  This is a quicker version of both Zombicide and Battlestar Galactica.  It’s got the high points of both, but does lose a few elements of both as well.  That’s not bad is what comes out of the Plaid Hat kitchen is its own tasty entree, but it is a new, simpler, quicker thing.  Instead of the weekend killer that is Battlestar, this is less than two hours to get a game in-great for a weekday game night.  I think the crossroads mechanic was a bit oversold as the end all/be all new interaction mechanic, but that doesn’t ruin this game.  The instructions are a bit rough, but the videos online will teach you to play quicker then reading them.  Overall, this is a solid game that that’s fun if you want an amazing American-style gaming night with zombies, possible traitors, and some team work picking up some garbage around the barricaded house.  89%

Ring Side Report-Video Game Review of Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown

Product– Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown

Producer– Cliffhanger Productions

Price– $25 here http://www.shadowrun.com/shadowrun-online/

TL; DR– An ok game, but overshadowed.  80%

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Basics-It’s never just a milk run…. In Boston Lockdown, you take the roll of a shadowrunner who wakes up on a metal slab.  How did you get there?  Why did a dragon destroy the Red Sox playoff hopes?  Take the roll of any kind of shadowrunner you want, hit the matrix, shoot straight, and never, ever, deal with a dragon.

Mechanics– There isn’t much here in the game, but it works decently. Players get to choose a race and select how they want to build their character.  But, there isn’t a whole lot there.  The races give a bit of a difference at character start, but don’t really change the game all that much.  You get a couple of powers that you will use through your archetype all the way through the game.  You increase the powers by training up a simple skill tree.  That’s fine, but you don’t really get a ton of depth from that.  Once you have your powers, that’s in!  Don’t expect a ton of difference between a start character and a character that finishes the game.  You’re numbers a bigger, but that’s really it.  In terms of game play, the game is a simple tactical game.  You’re team of characters takes their turn moving and shooting/using powers, then the bad guys go.  That is every single mission.  You might get a mission to defend a location for a bit or touch X number of switches on the map, but overall it’s the same mission over and over again.  Again, not bad, but you won’t spend 10 hours playing this game.  It’s fun for a short burst, but then you’ll put it down and do something else.  It’s a semi-solid B effort. 4/5

Theme– Here is the saving grace of the game-This is Shadowrun 2075!  You’re playing modern Shadowrun set in the same universe as all the current books.  Wiz!  If you want to see how the world story is changing, then you’re going to play this game.  The story is fun and fresh.  It does have the standard “milk run to major plot” cliché we know and love, but it does get its foot in the door.  4.5/5

Execution– If the theme is good, and the mechanics are ok, then the execution is the bad.  This game is lag-tastic.  I have a laptop and a desktop that can both run some pretty hardcore, taxing games, but this game lags on both.  There aren’t even that many people on screen, and the game lags.  Forgiving lag, the game feels kind of half done.  It’s a working finished product, but some characters get a voice, and some don’t.  Why?  Stick to all voice or all text, as it feels like the budget run out halfway through this part.  The controls are semi-intuitive, so that’s ok, but the learning curve can cost you some money in the beginning.  The fact you only really get two powers for the whole game doesn’t really make me think leveling up the character is important.  It’s not a horrible game by any means; it just feels like it’s not completely finished.  3.5/5

Summary-There are two major Shadowrun computer games coming out now: the online game and Shadowrun Returns.  This is where it gets hard.  Shadowrun Chronicles isn’t a bad game, but compared to Shadowrun Returns, it’s not the best.  Honestly both games tend to get a little same-y as every level is a tactical encounter with little roleplaying, but Returns beats Chronicles on that front.  What Chronicles has that Returns doesn’t is the current world/metastory and co-op.  That’s what has its hooks in me.  I’m a sucker for a shared world I can influence, and this one has it in spades.  So the honest summary-if you only have $25 to spend and need a great introduction to Shadowrun-buy the RPG ebook (Didn’t see that one coming did you?!).  However if you need a video game, then you should hands down get Dragonfall and Shadowrun Returns.  If you want an online experience with leveling and co-op with friends with some current Shadowrun story, then Shadowrun Chronicles is a good place to play.  Neither beat the tabletop experience, but Chronicles will at least let you game with some friends.   80%