Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–22: Out of Anarchy

Product-Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–22: Out of Anarchy

System– Pathfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $ 4 here http://paizo.com/products/btpy9cu1?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-6-22-Out-of-Anarchy

TL; DR– Too many ingredients spoil the soup! 78%

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Basics-The society never leaves a man behind-they just might take five years to help him…and it might be someone’s pet project as well…. In this adventure, the Pathfinder Society sends in new recruits to find a long forgotten Pathfinder in a blockagged town in Cheliax.  There, the young Pathfinder have to navigate several different rival groups, find their target, and get him out…all while not starting the third burning of the city!  This adventure is designed for level first to fifth level characters.

Mechanics or Crunch-What’s here is good, but there is just too much here!  This adventure has some serious roleplaying opportunities (which is great) and some serious combats (there are over four!).  That is too much for a four-hour time slot!  Each part isn’t bad as the roleplaying characters get some time to shine and the combat monkeys can take center stage at different points, but in a four hour adventure slot at a con, this adventure simply is too long.  GMs will have to drop part to keep this one going fast enough to cover all the ground. 3.5/5

 

Theme or Fluff-So, not only is there a lot of mechanics, there is also a lot of story to cover as well.  It’s not bad, but it’s too much!  First is a missing Pathfinder.  Then,there are four factions to contend with.  Next is trying to get out and get help.  And lastly is dealing with other enemy groups in the city.  That is too much talking!  I love good roleplaying in a Pathfinder Society adventure, but with so much going on here, it’s hard to make all the pieces shine.  If you don’t ham up each group, then players don’t notice them.  If you do, then it takes too much precious time that you won’t have for the fights and talking to the different groups later.  It’s too difficult a balance to walk-especially for a 1-5 level, four-hour scenario. 4/5

Execution-Overall, this adventure has the Paizo polish.  Lot’s of pictures to help describe things, lot’s of included information to make running this easy, and a decent amount of breaks to make the text flow better.  However, the organization isn’t perfect.  This adventure is about 40 pages!  Some pages are copies of Bestiary books to help run the adventure, but I would like a few more breaks and a table or two detailing how different groups interact with the players at different locations.  Those little things would help speed up the pace of this adventure and possibly get it out close to the four-hour runtime. 4.25/5

Summary-If I had eight hours with a single table, this would be a great adventure to put them through.  They could really dig deep into the roleplaying, and the combat-crunch players would have an absolute blast as well by being able to paint the town red with their enemies.  But, this is written with the goal of four hours.  For that time limit, there is just too much here!  It’s written well enough, but will all the twists, turns, and fights, you CAN’T get this adventure done and be on time.  And any adventure I can’t run in a time slot at a con, written for a con, isn’t one I run a second time. 78%

Daily Punch 11-25-15 Armored Agility feat for DnD 5e

Let’s step up your armor game a bit!

 

Armored Agility

Unlike almost everyone else, you move better the heaver the armor gets.  All class and feat abilities that do not allow you to wear armor now function with  the next heaviest set (light, medium, then heavy armor) you are proficient with.  You may take this feat multiple times gaining the ability to use class and feat abilities with the  next set are armor you can wear.

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of New Dawn

Product-New Dawn

Producer-Stronghold Games

Price– $60 here http://www.amazon.com/Artipiagames-ARP01008-Dawn-Board-Game/dp/B00QHJCUE2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1448827799&sr=8-5&keywords=New+Dawn

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 90-120 minutes (2-4 players)

Type-American

Depth-Medium

TL; DR-Eclipse by way of Among the Stars. 90%

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Basics-We’ve gone Among the Stars, Expanded the Alliance, sent Ambassadors, and now have a New Dawn for the galaxy.  In New Dawn, players take the roles of the same alien races from Among the Stars, but now have moved from the joint space station to exploring the galaxy for resources.  

In terms of overall play, New Dawn plays a bit like Eclipse.  This game has three resources that players must spend to dominate the galaxy: economic, science, and military.  Each race/player starts with a player board with 15 bases in their color.  Each base covers up a resource of that type with the fifth base covering up a resource and a victory point.  Players choose one base to uncover and place on the central alliance start point.  Then, each turn goes as follows: 1) draw up to four tiles to explore 2) place one tile and get its placement bonus 3)buy a research card 4)Move one of your military headquarters to any space 5) take three actions in turn 6) Send aid to the alliance.  The tiles are the different sections of space to explore and are split between science, military, economic, and hostile (a mix of all three that is high risk/high reward).  Each tile has a placement bonus which ranges from getting resources, placing more tiles, or attacking a tile for free.  Research is interesting as each race has its own deck of cards that allows each player to customize how each race plays in each game and allows limited responses to other race’s/player’s actions.  Military headquarters are the main movement pieces of the game.  You start with one and use it to buy or conquer other tiles.  You never lose them, but you can buy more to give you extra power and points.  This all said, the main game itself is the actions.  Actions are as follows:  gain one resources of any type, buy a tile, seize a tile, use an ambassador, or buy a new military HQ and move all the HQs you have.  The resources are self explanatory, but the ambassadors are new.  Ambassadors are tokens that you place on any tile and then do the ambassadors action.  These actions are all written on the cards themselves, but are mostly better versions of the actions discussed above.  Of the actions you have, the two biggest and most important are the buy or seize a tile.  Buying a tile is simple.  Each tile has a cost in economic resources and a victory point cost.  You just pay the economic cost.  Seizing is more interesting and MUCH more random.  If a tile is is not controlled, you add the victory points and the cost and then roll dice according to where your Military HQ’s are.  For each military HQ’s on a tile you roll the yellow die (a d6 with numbers 2,3,4,5,5, and 6) and for each military HQ adjacent you can roll the white die (a d6 with numbers 1 through 6).  Some powers and abilities give you a green die (a d6 with numbers 0,1,1,2,2, and  3) or the RED AWESOME DIE (a d6 with numbers 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, and 6).  The attacking player must beat the defence, not tie.  If he/she wins, then that player places a base on the tile of the same type as the one from his/her player board.  Combat against a player works exactly the same way with a base on a tile giving you a yellow die in addition to all the Military HQ on or around the tile as above.  This can lead to some epic dice roll offs as player can also get rerolls and bonus dice from other powers as well.  If the defender loses, the he/she takes his/her base of the tile and covers up the right most resource on the player board and the winners get to place a base as before.  In addition, at the start of the game four random bonuses are placed around the board.  These bonuses range from extra defence, free movements of Military HQs, to rerolls and extra dice.  Each tile typically has some arrows on it.  When a tile is bought or seized, the player gets to change the direction in which it is facing, and the arrows the tile points to give a bonus to the owning player.  The last action of each turn is to send aid to the alliance.  This is buying victory point cards using the three different resources as printed on the card.  After five rounds, the points for bases, aid, uncovered resources, and purchased tech and military HQs are added up, and the player with the most has conquered the galaxy and provided the most aid to the alliance!

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Mechanics-First thing first, let’s deal with the elephant in the room-Eclipse.  Eclipse is a great game, but not my favorite 4-X space game.  This game and Eclipse both have the multiple bases and resources concept, tech trees, exploration, and color-based dice combat.  And all of that is done a bit different but well by each game.  However, Eclipse goes about one turn too long.  This game is MUCH shorter, easier to recover from some early game problems, and actually provides much more player control.  AND, this game at it’s highest price is $60 while Eclipse still retails for about $100.  How New Dawn handles everything is fun, fair, and a great way to manage a galaxy.  It’s something that new gamers can handle, and older gamers will enjoy.  It’s not perfect as the randomness can honestly destroy your enjoyment of a game and combat is a bit more powerful than other strategies, but if you play American-style games, you know that pain all too well!  Don’t let those minor problems keep you from this game.  4.75/5

Theme-This game changed a few key things that I think hurt the game a bit.  The theme of the first game was alien races working against each other, but not on an overly aggressive scale as the war was fresh in their mind.  This game  is all about combat.  It will be extremely difficult to win the game without conquering a single base or engaging in combat.  It’s a massive departure from the first game.  The second is the race descriptions.  The first game Among the Stars is a pretty simple drafting and tile laying game, so the designers spent the second half of the rulebook describing the universe and the races within.  This game is a bit more complicated, so the rules need a bit more description.  But the races and world only get about a half pages description on the first page.  I really miss the world building of the first game.  The game itself is well done and you do feel like you’re conquering space and your friends’ bases.  But, I’m not sure that’s exactly what I wanted from the second game in this series. 4.25/5

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Instructions-I mentioned in the theme section, the rulebook doesn’t have as much description as I would like, but overall the rules are well explained by the book.  There are a few problems that I think need a tiny bit more explanation like the arrows on location cards.  The rules tell you about the different cards placed on the board at the game start, but they don’t give you as deep a working description of that mechanic.  You will figure it out on your first play, but it’s a slight problem.  If you can apply your best logic to the game, you will do fine with the rules in the box.   4.5/5

Execution– This game doesn’t come with a ton in the box, but what’s there is done reasonably well.  To see all the pieces in the box, see my unboxing video here: https://youtu.be/EnMeLhB9Ods  The board is two sided with a simple and complex game, which is a nice added layer of gameplay and replay-ability.  The tiles all look like the same tiles from Among the Stars which is a nice call back to the first game.  I even like the new plastic tokens in the game.  What I don’t like is that the gameboard isn’t big enough.  There are spots for some tiles but not others.  I’d like one more row on all the sides to give enough places to place all the parts that game has.  Also, I’d like the box to be a little thicker cardboard.  Stronghold Games typically makes their game boxes of a lighter material which is nice when I carry five of them to a con to demo them, but the boxes don’t stand up to too much punishment.  These are minor quibbles, but there are things to consider.  Overall, it’s a beautiful game that has some good parts to it. 4.5/5

Summary-This might not be my favorite 4x game, but it’s quickly made a spot in the top few of them.  It’s got all the things I love in a game: strategy, depth, speed, and ease of learning/teaching.  I’d like a bit more story and cardboard, but that isn’t any reason to not pick this one up.  If you like Sci-FI games, 4x games, or simply want a good game to play at any gameday that won’t eat the whole day, then this is an excellent game to buy.  I can’t wait to play this again and to see the expansion that will come and further develop the ideas that came out of this game.  90%

Daily Punch 11-24-15 Full Body Swing feat for DnD 5e

Let’s keep building on the idea of con as a weapon!

 

Full Body Swing

Some people use their whole body when they swing.  Those with a fuller body get more of a swing!  Gain the following benefits:

  • Add your Constitution modifier to any melee weapon damage.
  • You may use your Constitution modifier in place of your Strength modifier when making a melee weapon attack roll.
  • Add 1 to your Constitution stat, to a maximum of 20.

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 11-23-15 Full Body Defense feat for DnD 5e

Funny thing, gladiators were not thin, trim guys.  They were surprisingly fat.  A guy with a gut can take a knife, spray a bit of blood to wow the crowds, and not get his abdominal wall punctured and the accompanying death sentence that goes with that.  Let’s build that into DnD 5e!

Full Body Defense

You’re big, but not exactly tall for the build.  You’re built hard enough to take the hits and not exactly care.  Gain the fallowing benefits:

  • When you are wearing no or light armor, add your constitution modifier to your armor class.
  • Add your constitution modifier again to your hit point total for each level you gained before you got this feat and for each level after.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 11-11-15 Master of Animal Forms Monk archetype for DnD 5e

How about a monk the learns from an animal?  When I did Kung Fu, I practiced the animal forms.  Let’s make that work in DnD 5e for the Monk.

Master of Animal Forms

Animal Sensei

Starting at 3rd level, you gain an animal companion as per the ranger rules.  However, you may only choose from the following animals.  In addition to the ranger rules for animal companion actions, once per turn, you may spend a ki point as a bonus action to issue a command to your animal companion.  You must also pick a time each day when your animal companion will train you.  This time lasts for 3 minutes per character level.  During this time you may change the animal companion that is training you with no negative repercussions.

Animal Page Bonus Skill Bonus Save
Constrictor Snake PHB 305 Slight of Hand Con
Giant Owl MM327 Perception Cha
Panther PHB 308 Stealth Wis
Wolf PHB 311 Athletics Int

Animal Training

At 6th level, you begin to learn the lessons of your animal companion.  You gain proficiency in a skill and saving throw associated with your animal companion.  If you are already proficient with the skill or saving throw, then you double your proficiency bonus.

Two Masters

At 11th level, you have continued so deep into your training that you now gain the bonus of your Animal Training class feature for two different animals.  You still only have one animal companion.

The Fifth Animal

At 17th level, you have reached the peak of your training, and your animal companion now reflects it.  You now gain a dragon wyrmling as your animal companion.  It still gains the bonuses as a animal companion as normal (hit points, addition of proficiency to attack, etc), but also has all the skills, immunities, and other creature abilities as a dragon wyrmling.  Each day you may choose a different dragon wyrmling type during your training as well as two different animals for your bonuses from your Two Masters class feature.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Coup: Rebellion G54

Product-Coup: Rebellion G54

Producer-Indie Board and Cardboard

Price– $30 here http://www.amazon.com/Coup-Rebellion-G54-Card-Game/dp/B010HEZHII/ref=sr_1_3?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1447554861&sr=1-3&keywords=coup

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 10 minutes (3-6 players)

Type-American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Simple, social, dystopian fun! 96%

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Basics-Who will reign supreme?  In Coup, each player uses their influences and perceived influence to do various actions in an attempt to outmaneuver and out right eliminate their opponents.  Players are dealt a number of cards that indicate who they have guaranteed influence with.  These cards are dealt face down.  Each turn a player chooses one action to take among the seven different actions available.  Two of these actions are either gain 1 credit or spend 7 credits to hurt a player.  When a player is hurt, they reveal one of their cards, and that card no longer counts as under their influence.  The other actions are all represented by different personalities in the world, and you can select any of those actions to take  However, any player may challenge who you are.  If you can show that you have the face down card for the action you took, the challenger loses a life, you reshuffle the displayed card into the deck of remaining cards, draw one, and take that action.  If you can’t show the card or won’t, then you lose a life!  If there is no challenge, then the action occurs. Play continues with each player taking one action each turn, possibly resolving challenges, killing other players, until there is only one man or woman standing!

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Mechanics-Coup is a quick game!  You only have seven actions to consider each turn, so it moves really fast, and you have to stay on your toes as players challenge one another.  But it works well.  The game comes with a ton of different roles, so few if any games can really be the same.  How the different roles play together and apart is a really an interesting dynamic.  I normally don’t like elimination games, but this one plays in under 10 minutes even with high player count, so a new game is about four minutes away at any given time.  It’s not perfect as players have to balance the game itself.  Victors can run away really fast in this one!  But that is a problem of all social games.  4.75/5

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Theme-This version of Coup is set in a cyberpunk dystopian setting, and it works really well!  Players vie for power under the watchful eye of an all powerful government, and you constantly feel like you’re on shifting ground.  Getting called out on a role you have feels like you called in a mark and now they might not help in the future.  Bluffing feels like you’re using smoke and mirrors to intimidate your opponents into thinking you have more power than you do.  It feels like a compact political thriller-watching House of Cards at 90x speed since you get done in 10 minutes or less! 5/5

Instructions-The instructions to this one are not that bad, but it buries a few leads.  Something really important to note is how challenges work if you reveal a card.  If you have the role card in your hand, and you show it, you shuffle and redraw a new role card.  You may get that card back again.  That’s really important because it’s a one off line in the rules, but it’s one of the most important parts of the game’s mechanics and theme.  Overall the rules are compact enough to explain the game, but not large enough to be intrusive for a game that will take you more time to open than play.  Maybe a tad more detail would help, but in general it’s done well enough. 4.5/5

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Execution– This game gets a five out of five for a few reasons-most of them for being smarter than me.  When you open the box, there will be two cardboard hunks you won’t know what to do with.  These hunks are card dividers.  It took me a few minutes, but once I understood their brilliance, I was amazed.  The game has solid, chunky cardstock to divide the randomizer cards from the role cards.  That is absolutely simplistic smarts that many much more expensive games leave out.  Also, this game is set up for expansions to fit in one box.  If you’ve seen base Coup, then you know the astounding number of expansions it has.  And, Indie Board and Card built this game to be ready for more.  Aside from that, the art is amazing.  I like what I see here.  Want to see all the pieces in the box?  Here is a full unboxing of the game: https://youtu.be/UwFf7454gMs 5/5

Summary-So here is the rub-this is a phenomenal game that some of you will only despise.  This is a great game, but it is a social game.  If you don’t like social manipulation, then you will absolutely hate this game.  I had amazing games of Coup, but some people have left the table because they can’t manipulate others well.  If you like social games, but want a bit more strategy than “Are you a Werewolf?” this is a great, short, and cheap game you should get to the table. 96%