Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Otherworld Indiegogo Closing, time to Get Involved


Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Dungeon! 2012

I've eagerly awaited the new Dungeon! Boardgame. Yes, I knew it would have some WotC silliness (and it does) but I still have my original copy in great shape (Roslof cover) and have enjoyed it a great deal over the years. It's a nice alternative when you want a break from a regular D&D campaign.

I like the new board. I would have liked more of a distinction between light orange and dark orange for levels 2 and 3. That should have been cleaned up. I also would have preferred true purple over pink for level 4. It doesn't have the monster illustrations on the board like the older version. I like those fanciful but meaningful aesthetic additions. It gave the game a certain charm. I did appreciate male and female characters, even though I think the over-produced, over-posed 4e art is terrible.

I have gripes with the monster/treasure/spell cards. The stock won't accomodate regular usage. They are simply too thin and won't hold up with regular wear and tear. Also, I found the cards too busy. They just don't need that much information. I want big monster illos, not boring stats. As I normally say with most WotC items, for-the-love-of-the-gods keep it simple. The cardstock character pieces are too tall, tip over, and make no sense. The pawns in the old game (although not very cool) were far more practical than the tall character stand-ins. We, as you can see, used some mins instead (you know, the ones with the decomposing plastic).

Finally, some of the logic of the game bugs me. For example, if you are republishing Dungeon! you are saying, very clearly, THIS IS A NOSTALGIA GAME and we are targeting a certain demographic. Yes, other folks might buy the game but - odds are - the target audience has played the original game at some point. With that in mind, why is a Gelatinous Cube located on level 5? Why is a Carrion Crawler located on level 6 along with a Purple Worm and the Red/Black/Blue Dragons? Similarly, for a nostalgia game why use the terrible monster and PC aesthetic of 4e? If Elmore was good enough for the the cover of the 4e redbox then I would have gone a different direction with this game. If you are going to be a bear, then be a grizzly, so to speak.

The board of my game was/is bowed pretty badly. That sucks.

In sum, I appreciate WotC republishing this game. So much so I bought two as my kids are young and will no doubt destroy the first copy over time (I'm realistic). Being completely honest, I am more inclined to use the board and reprint the cards from the original game, than use the monster cards provided. They are more simple and easier for the kids to read. In all I'm underwhelmed. If you have no other options and want to play then buy a copy, if you have the old game, stick with that one.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

BM Treasure

Well, from the posts on google+ folks have started receiving their Barrowmaze campaign packages. Remind me to tell you the human interest story about the elaborate shipping plan lol

Here's what some of the treasure looks like. I hope it meets expectations and people can have fun with it.

As an aside, I picked up a copy of the new Dungeon! Game and played with my kids after school. I'm going to post on it shortly.

Friday, October 12, 2012


“You are about to embark upon a grand megadungeon under which I have striven these many months. The eyes of the realm are upon you…I have full confidence in your capacity to pilfer loot, your devotion to XP, and your capacity to flee ravenous monsters.”

That’s right folks – Barrowmaze II has shipped for all those living in the US. The packages will be coming USPS. I have personally packed and shipped each box (with an assist from Dan Proctor). Canadian and international orders will be posted this coming week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Empty Rooms

I've been reading the various posts on empty rooms, based initially on Tenkar's ill-fated Dwimmermount game, with enjoyment. It's interesting to hear different perspectives.

First, how are people defining an empty room? Devoid of monsters? Devoid of treasure? Both? Completely devoid of anything? There's empty and then there's empty. I tend to think devoid of monsters, but that's my view.

I don't think we can have a discussion about empty rooms persay. All rooms, empty or not, need to considered in the larger context of the rooms immediately adjacent to it or the theme of the dungeon or dungeon level. Why are they there?

Empty rooms can accomplish a great deal - after all classic fantasy is supposed to be about exploration and not just hack n slash. I find empty rooms add to the verisimilitude and often add an exclamation point to encounters when they do occur.

Of course Barrowmaze has its share. This was a key aspect of the design. In hindsight, I wish I had more to give it a more hollow, empty feel.

BTW I played part of the first level of DM with James and really enjoyed the sense of exploration he was trying to inject into the game. But that's just me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Old School Sandboxing

I just wanted to point out an excellent read by Ravencrowking. You can find it here:


This is quite timely. My group and I are each creating a basic setting concept to "pitch" as our next setting. We have been using the Northern Reaches , which has been great, but it leaned heavily on the RBVancouver and NYC groups.

I'm going to base my concept on The Spine of the World and push/pull the idea around to get what I want. I've started the most basic of fundamentals and plan on pecking away at it over time. I'll post on it periodically. Check out Raven's pdf, it's very good.

More WotC Reprints

Looks like 2E is getting a dust off (not huge on it) as well as the S series and A series module compilations as hardbacks.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

FR Help

Has there ever been a Forgotten Realms supplement for The Spine of the World? I was thinking I'd have to poke through The North boxed set or The Savage Frontier supplement for details. Have I missed anything?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself

Here's the boy trying on his X-Wing pilot outfit for Halloween. Needless to say, he's pretty excited.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wanted: Greyhawk Ruins

I'm looking for a good copy of Grewhawk Ruins if you have one for sale or trade. I'd also like to hear more about Castle Zagyg. I don't know much about it other than there were boxed sets and supplements done in a limited print run. Is it any good? Easy conversion?