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.

26 October 2019

PinkFae Archive #49: How to GM Part 8: The End of a Game Session

Today we have another entry from the PinkFae archives. This article is part of the 'How to GM' series. It was originally posted on 14 January 2017.

Four gamers sitting at a table playing Dungeons and Dragons. There are character sheets, dice, and pencils on the table, as well as empty food bowls and several empty (or almost empty) drink glasses, indicating that the game is at an end.

The evening is drawing to a close. The session is ending. You're nearing the end of the time allotted for tonight's game. All done, right? Time to say, 'See you next session!' and pack up your stuff and go?

Not quite.

The end of a game session is at least as important as the beginning. Before you call it a night, there are a few important details that you should cover. In this entry, we shall look at some of the essential issues to consider at the end of your session.

19 October 2019

TokenCon 2: Electric Boogaloo

The TokenCon logo: the title in a stylized balloon-like font, with the OK in 'Token' larger than other letters and the hole in the middle of the O shaped like the state of Oklahoma, and the O in 'Con' replaced by a six-sided die.

A couple of weeks ago was the second installment of Oklahoma's first and (so far) only board game convention: TokenCon! As should be no surprise to anyone, I had to attend. This year, it has expanded, both in terms of size and in duration; it was three days this time! Sadly, I wasn't able to attend on Friday, as there was a special event at work that day which lasted well into the evening... still, I was there for a good chunk of both Saturday and Sunday.

I am pleased by the overall direction of the convention. It is definitely growing; there were more people there this year. It took up more space. The gaming hall seemed more full than last year. I had a good time, and I don't regret the money I spent. Granted, I bought one of the 'early bird' tickets, so it wasn't quite as expensive for me this time. Still, I don't feel as though the ticket cost was too high this time around, as I did last year.

So let's talk about what I saw and did there.

12 October 2019

Board Game Review: Cheer Up!

The box cover for Cheer Up! A light blue background with the title in white text at the top, under that is a cartoon drawing of a king charles spaniel.  The tagline reads 'The Ultimate Party Game' and  black banner beneath it reads 'Waring: Adults Only!'

I'm going to lay all my cards on the table, just as soon as you forgive me for that terrible pun. I only sort of like Cards Against Humanity. Sure, when I first played it, I thought it was delightfully funny in a darkly immature way. But after a while, I got tired of it. Mostly because it was the only game that many of my friends wanted to play. Yeah, it's offensive in that way that non-uptight adults living in an incredibly uptight culture appreciate it. But CAH ultimately is just offensive jokes for offensive jokes' sake. There's no creativity, no strategy, no skills. In the end, it all boils down to 'which player happened to receive the card that the judge finds most humorous this turn?'

But, as I said, it's the only game that many of my friends like to play. There's a certain group of people that I like, but I can't spend much time around them because the only thing they ever do for fun is get drunk and play games, usually CAH, or if not, then one of the JackBox games.

So when I saw Cheer Up! by Chris Rio and published by Cheer Up Games, I wondered if maybe I had found a game that would appeal to those who rely on CAH for their 'gaming' needs but still provide me a little more engagement than the normal CAH-style party game so that I don't feel resigned to my fate when everyone else wants to play it.

So let's look at those numbers:

05 October 2019

PinkFae Archive #48: Geocaching Game Designer J Keller (Interview)

This article is another entry from the PinkFae Archives. It was a follow-up to archive #47, the board game review of Geoquest. This article was first posted on 7 January 2017.

A photo of interviewee J Keller and his son, co-creator Jason Keller, standing outside during a geocaching excursion.

Last week, I posted a review of the game Geoquest. This week, I have the privilege of sharing an interview I was able to do with the creators, geocaching enthusiasts J Paul Keller and his son Jason. Unfortunately, the audio recording I made of the interview did not record Jason's input, so his dialogue will not be included. However, pretty much everything he said was reiterated by his father, so don't feel like you're missing out on anything just because his words don't appear below!

PinkFae: So what made you guys decide to make this game?

J Keller: We love games, and we're pretty active in geocaching. I think we ended up looking for one, and there wasn't anything out there, and we thought we could probably do that. It kind of evolved about ten years. We made a prototype, and it was fun, and it started getting better and better, so we thought, 'Let's see if we can actually do this.'