30 November 2019

PinkFae Archive #52: How to GM Part 8: Awarding Experience Points

As we near the end of the PinkFae Archives, we come to the second to last entry in the 'How to GM' series. This article was originally published on 4 February 2017.

A variety of medals on blue ribbons lying in a pile, representing the concept of rewards, which is how many players perceive experience points.

 The evening is over, and the game is finished for tonight. Everyone is ready to go home. There's one last thing left to do. It's finally time to award experience points. For some players, this is, in some ways, the entire point of the game. They see it as a reward for having done a good job. Getting a lot of experience indicates that they're a proficient gamer. After all, it helps them feel as if they were useful to the completion of the goal. For that reason, awarding experience points is an important and often delicate task.

Depending on the system you're using, this can be a very easy task, or it can be daunting. Let's look at some of the intricacies involved in effectively awarding experience.

23 November 2019

Board Game Review: War Chest

The components of War Chest. A game board, with several cards arrayed to one side, the velvet bags on the other side, a tray of tokens behind it, and the game box lying open nearby.

When I went to Geekway to the West back in May, I won a copy of the game War Chest by Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson, published by Alderac Entertainment Group, in the play-to-win drawing. I think the time has come to review that game for you!

The premise behind the game is that a grizzled warrior gives a gift to a young prince to help him prepare to be a great leader in times of war. The gift was a War Chest, a crate of tokens used to play a game designed to help the future king learn to adapt to the constantly shifting conditions in a battle.

War Chest is that game.

Let's start as we always do: with some numbers.

16 November 2019

PinkFae Archive #51: Fate Core: An Overview of a Great Roleplaying Game

We are getting closer to the end of the PinkFae archives! After today's entry, there are only three more archives left!

This article was originally published on 28 January 2017.

The Logo for the Fate Core System, which is the word 'Fate' in large stylized block letters, with the A rising higher than the other letters, in white on a blue gradient background, with the words 'Core System' in smaller white block letters underneath.

I've played a lot of roleplaying games in my life. I've talked about some of them here before, like Changeling: The Dreaming. The first I ever played was Marvel Super Heroes from TSR. I've tried the big, well known ones like Dungeons and Dragons. I've also played many small obscure ones, like Albedo, The Whispering Vault, and Tales from the Floating Vagabond. Although I'd heard of the Fate system, it wasn't until last month that I got to actually play it. A friend invited me to play in a two-session Dresden Files RPG game, which uses Fate. He then loaned me his copy of the Fate Core book.

I am a convert.

Let me tell you why.

09 November 2019

PinkFae Archive #50: Board Game Review: Five Tribes

This week's entry is another one from the PinkFae Archives. It was originally published on 21 January 2017.

A view of Five Tribes being played. There are 30 square location tiles arranged in a five by six grid. Each tile has a representation of a location from a stereotypical Arabian city, as well as a victory point value and an action icon. Distributed amongst these tiles are meeples in various colours, wooden camel tokens in various colours, wooden palm tree tokens, and wooden Arabian palace tokens. Around this playing area can be seen various resource cards, djinn cards, victory point tokens, a turn order track with Arabian-style towers marking players' turn order, and reserves of the various wooden meeples/tokens.

 A couple of weeks ago, I was looking through the top 100 ranked games on Board Game Geek. I noticed, to my dismay, that I had only played about seventeen of them. That was when I decided I needed to fix that. So I made a new year's resolution for 2017. Before the end of this year, I want to, at some point, be able to say that I've played at least 80 of the games on BGG's top 100 list. This led to me playing Five Tribes with some friends last week.

I'll talk more about this resolution on my other blog, where I'll also keep track of how many I've played. But for now, I will use the opportunity to review a wonderful game. At first, I was hesitant to try it, based on the relevant episode of Tabletop. I have learned that I need to be less reliant on that series. Games that look uninteresting to me turn out to be a lot of fun. That was the case with Five Tribes; I really liked it. So let's see why, starting with the numbers:

02 November 2019

The Power of Good over Evil

A greyscale photo of a man against a black background. Only half of his face can be seen, and he is holding up his hand along the line dividing the visible half of his face from the half shrouded in darkness. This image is mirrored so that the man appears to be split in half with some space between the two halves of his face. On the left side of this man is the word 'good,' and on the right side is the word 'evil.'

I was rereading some of the more recent entries in the archives of The Order of the Stick. I came across the strip in which Durkon was talking about how being 'good' can be just as alluring as being 'evil.' And I found myself thinking about that. I'd like to share my thoughts on that topic with you now, if you don't mind.

Again, I know this isn't strictly game related, but it is sort of game-adjacent, especially if we're talking about roleplaying games. Even though I'm not fond of Dungeons and Dragons and other games based on that system, the fact that it is such a ubiquitous game means that the concept of 'good vs. evil' (especially in games that use those sorts of alignment systems) is a pretty frequent occurrence.

Before we get started, though, I want to make sure we understand what the terms 'good' and 'evil' mean. It's important that we all are working from a common ground if this bit of navel-gazing is to be at all productive. So this is going to be a little uber-philosophical for just a moment.

If you're ready, then here we go.