|A splendiferous Christmas Torchic from DeviantArt|
I trust that you've all had an enjoyable winter solstice festival of your preferred format. If you are anything like Sister Superior and I you are happy, albeit somewhat heavier than you were beforehand and in possession of more chocolates than you have any real use for.
The only black mark on my Christmas, really, was the death of my PC monitor on boxing day which necessitated a trip into the sales to get a new one. It wasn't a huge surprise as it had been behaving a little oddly for a while, but once it properly failed there wasn't much to be done bar trawl about for a quick and dirty replacement.
|It wasn't quite this bad - it actually just kept turning itself off and on.|
|Third best because... well, there are two other films I just can't go a Christmas without watching.|
Now, inevitably, you're going to want to know if I got any interesting gaming type stuff that falls under the remit of this blog. Well, GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! I have!
|Busting makes 1-4 people feel good!|
The big one is the Ghostbusters board game, a co-operative endeavour for up to four people (though it can also be played solo) based on the classic 1980s films and cartoon series. Double-sided, repositionable board pieces and a slew of different ghostly figures and gateway tokens allow a variety of different missions to be played but the core mechanic remains one of busting and storing the ghosts in time, before the spirit world overwhelms the material plane.
The game comes with a bunch of different scenarios - some stand-alone ones and some designed to be played in order, adding a certain amount of RPG-like story and character progression into the mix. There is also a scenario generator for those who have exceeded these, though I think it'd take a fair while to through the whole lot.
|The board game comes with four of these|
The four D6s, though, with a No-Ghost symbol on them... there's no denying there's a clear use for those. Ghost Dice! Real Ghost Dice!
|Not cosmically different, but there's some bits and bobs worth noting|
Primetime Adventures, the card-based group narration game we use as the core of our Star Trek game. This is a product we'll definitely get use out of - we've often spoken about using the system for other things and I'd be really interested in doing a completely new TV show styled game rather than aping an existing format.
The changes are fairly minor, as you'd expect with a quite mechanically light game. Some of the wording and advice on game structure has been amended, including talking more overtly about giving your game a US TV ratings guideline to guide players in what content is and isn't acceptable at the table. They also advise building a sort of master character list for the game - come up with your premise, decide who are likely characters of note, tick off the PC ones and then hand the rest to the producer to help them populate the world.
|Excuse the rough scan, I don't have a PDF of this book and it's all white-on-black which makes it hard to scan clear.|
Some of the terms are purposefully a bit vague to allow a few different interpretations. Prohibition + Family + City might a story about a 1920s American family becoming a crime family, but Prohibitoin + Boat/Ship + Antiquity could be a story about being smugglers, shipping ancient world artifacts around the Mediterranean.
What about actual play, though? If we start using these rules, would we see any changes at the table?
Primetime Adventures 2nd Ed worked on a system where hands of cards were dealt out to the GM and the players. Having more red cards than the GM meant you won; the person with the highest ranked card got to narrate how the various people won or lost their conflicts. This system meant sometimes you had to describe your failure or someone else's success.
In Third Ed you always narrate your own actions, success or failure. However, now whether your highest card is higher or not than the GM affects whether you have a partial or total success/failure. As per the scanned sheet, this means that there are more likely to be enforced sort-of successes or partial failures rather than the players having to improvise that themselves.
Will I use these alterations? I'll probably give them a go. Star Trek is the next campaign game on our to-do list, and I've been trying (and failing) to win people round to the idea of a Starfleet Academy game which would be the DS9-esque Spin-Off to our TNG show. Perhaps experimenting on new characters might be a way to try out the new rules?
|It's got a whole RPG sourcebook and everything.|
|"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin". - Ronald Reagan|
The group seemed to enjoy the session, albeit their main comment as I recall was that combat wasn't actually terribly interesting. It felt like the heart of the game was actually life on the base, and the fighting was brutal and random but not actually terribly engaging. Maybe with more playing we'd crack this aspect of it more, either learning more interesting things to do in the air or just sticking to the more soap opera elements.
|Remember this is a game about real women - these bad-ass bitches were the terror of the Nazis, even if their own |Russian military didn't respect them.|
One thing I'd like to try, if I could talk the group into it, is an alternating narration aspect. The game suggests that every time the 588th Regiment move from one battle front to another you should change GMing duties, with the current GM playing a new or returning Night Witch while another person (perhaps one whose character has been injured, killed or promoted away) takes over for this block. The baton passes around as the regiment changes its makeup, with not every lady who starts in training getting to Berlin and the victory parade when the war ends.|
|Natalya Fyodorovna Meklin, a Ukranian Night Witch who flew over 900 missions and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal. That's basically the Soviet equivalent of the Victoria Cross|
So.... yeah! Let's make this happen guys! Killing Nazis is never a bad thing, right? Even if you do have to GM a little bit now and then....
|Amusingly, I bought another set of these as a Christmas present for the person who got me these|
From Matthew we also have the Voyages set of Story Cubes, to add to my collection. (I already had the Original, Actions, Intergalactic and Enchanted sets.) These are a simple party game in which you roll dice that have various different symbols on them - you have to try and assemble a story using as many of the symbols you roll as possible.
This is more a brief diversion than a full nerdy game but it has a lot of things going for it - portable, easily explainable to newbies and the young, a useful tool to come up with story ideas when you're suffering writer's block. Mixing and matching different sets can produce weird results too, which can be entertaining - they also make a Sports, Medic, Prehistoric and Clues set.
I even have a less classy set of story dice from another manufacturer than I can combine in if I want to make.... erm, more mature stories. Though when I tried this with Sister Superior she rolled two ladies and a moon and tried to create a "Werelesbian", which just led to a half hour argument about what a Werelesbian is. Is it a woman who turns into a lesbian? Is it a lesbian who turns into a wolf? Is it a wolf who turns into a lesbian? If a man is bitten by a werelesbian, does he turns into a lesbian in the full moon?
|Not safe for work, obviously.|
Let's see if we can dust down the paintbrushes, eh?
|I will be a widow to this for months.|