Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Star Wars RPG

We have an ongoing Edge of the Empire campaign on roll20.net in which I am the GM. Kyle is playing as well as my old friends from high school - Craig, Brent & Chris. Brent's son Jonas is playing as well, though he's not there for every minute of every session. We are having a BLAST! Gaming with my old gaming friends is great, of course, but it's even MORE special gaming with Kyle as well.

So, while at Gen Con, we picked up the next Core Book - Age of Rebellion. We had the softcover Force and Destiny beta core book in our hand, but decided not to purchase it. Why? A couple of specific reasons...

First, Kyle said he couldn't justify paying $30 for a book that would get updates via PDF download for the next 8 months or so and then have to turn around and spend $60 for the hardback final release. I mentioned that we were "late to the party" getting into Edge of the Empire anyway and Age of Rebellion beta was out when we started. It released hard cover just a few months ago and we are just now picking it up, so there was no 'rush' to get a beta.

I also commented that even though he and I were the only ones to get the Age book right now that it will benefit the others too. I now have the "Duty" rules as well as new ships, races, rules, etc. that everyone will benefit from. (side note - We started a module a few weeks ago that ties into Craig's character's Obligation and backstory, but was also a mission for the Rebellion. We finished it AFTER Gen Con so I was able to assign Duty as well. They are officially a 'mixed group' now.)

So - after a cursory look at Force and Destiny, we realized that the only player to benefit from it would be Kyle and since he was hesitant anyway, we opted not to get it. It is full of force user stuff. Not just Jedi, but all disciplines, and even includes rules for "dark side" players. Yes, it might have come in handy for me to 'outfit' the NPC at the end of the module they were on, but that's the only thing I saw worth it, and that wasn't enough.

So - we didn't buy it, just like we didn't buy the beta for the first two. We did, however, get to play in a "con module" with Phil as GM. He's known as GMPhil, a regular co-host on the Order 66 Podcast as well as DarthGM on Twitter. He had written a module that he wanted to run at Gen Con (I think this was also his first Gen Con) and I made contact with him about getting a seat for Kyle and myself.

The two of us drove back to a hotel adjacent to the convention center and walked into the "open gaming" room. Holy Cow! There was table after table of gamers playing different board games and RPG's. To skip ahead, I told Kyle on the drive back that the vender hall was great and next year I want to play in some scheduled events (Dice Masters, X-Wing, etc.) but that THIS is where the real gaming happens!

Anyway, we found some others that looked like they were standing around waiting, and I knew from our Twitter conversation that Phil was running last minute, so we approached them. Yep - they were there for the same game.

I will not go into detail here of the module, in case you get a chance to play through it (my friends know how much I DESPISE spoilers!) but I will say that Phil is a MASTER at GM'ing! He had some professional quality maps created and printed, he had tokens that represented our characters, he had magnetic colored tokens to go on the bottom to show elevation, pending setback die, pending boost die, etc. He used a dry erase marker to note initiative order and did the classic "here's your difficulty" as he would show what the dice were and why they were there.

He also had something I thought was cool... A felt bottomed dice tray to roll into (to keep stuff from being knocked around on the table). I've been looking at and thinking about a dice tower, but I like the feel of shaking and rolling the dice. This little tray gave me the ability to keep the dice "close" without losing the feel of 'shaking and rolling.'

When it was all said and done the PC's "won" the module, but not without some exciting play, combat, decisions, rolls and disagreements. Now, to be clear, the PLAYERS didn't disagree at all. We all worked together as a team though we didn't really know each other... But our CHARACTERS had different opinions and different outlooks, and it really added to the game.

We started a little after 8 PM and finished up just before 2 AM. It was awesome. :-)

Here's the pic Phil put on Twitter just before we started...

Since this is running a bit long, next time I will tell you about Kyle's foray into GM'ing the game... :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Post Gencon

As I sit here on this quiet Sunday morning I realize that this last week has been a blur... Knowing that blogging helps to stir the creative juices, my goal was to blog more often. This didn't happen this week, but I definitely have SEVERAL posts worth of things to talk about. :-)

First, Gencon. Or is it Gen Con? This was my first, but will not be my last! Kyle had invited us up to stay with him during the con, which saved us a TON of money on hotels! For those that are not aware, Gen Con is a gaming convention. No, not video games - board games, RPG's, miniatures, card games, dice games, etc. It's something I've known about for a long time but just something I never figured I would be able to make it to. Well 2014 was "the year." :-)

There are so many things I could touch on here, but for now I'll talk about the standout stuff. Day One we hit the vendor hall and walk around a little bit. Kyle decides he wants to brave the FFG line, so me, him, Vanessa and Devin stand in line for over an hour just to get in. The first thing I grab is one of their new Star Wars dice bags -

They have four different styles, but this is the one I liked the most. And I was shocked at how BIG it was after I got it out of the package! (TWSS) My Star Wars dice went into this bag immediately...

We looked at all the new X-Wing Miniatures ships as well and gravitated to the YT-2400. Yes, that's Dash Rendar's ship. This was a character from the old N64 game Shadows of the Empire which was a part of both Kyle and Colton's youth, so just the name has sentimental value. I had not planned to buy the latest batch of minis mainly because there's very VERY few chances locally to play it. The Z-95 Headhunter is one I would like "just because." :-)

Anyway, Kyle had asked me to bring all my minis so we could play and we both wanted to see Dash Rendar hit the table, so I bought it.

We then picked up a copy of Age of Rebellion for each of us. This is the Core Book for the next "chapter" in the RPG we play. We still call it Edge of the Empire, but this book opens up some new Force talents (Kyle plays a Force Sensitive Wookie - Shorkazza) as well as some VERY detailed information about the Rebellion and getting existing characters into that role. It's no secret that the crew I've been GM'ing via roll20.net have been interested in joining the rebellion, so this helps that out as well. Of course, like the famous Han Solo, their past is not completely left behind, so they still have Obligation to contend with...

Well that's it for today... I still need to show the pics of Car Wars as well as talk about Hutt Ball... But that will come later...

Thanks for reading! And Kyle - thanks for having us as guests!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guitar Restoration Kit

While getting stuff ready for our trip to Gen Con, we listed the clothes we need to take... The games to box up... What toiletries we need... I offered to bring new guitar strings to Kyle for his Fender acoustic and/or his Kustom electric. I also offered to do a full "polish and restore" on them. He said sure.

So, in case you're wondering, here's what I packed...

The pic above shows the Car Wax for polishing, the paint brush for cleaning off steel wool, my Ernie Ball string winder (battery powered) that Vanessa and the kids gave me for fathers day a couple of years ago (wow - what a time saver!), 0000 steel wool, blue painters tape and boiled linseed oil.

The pic above shows some various small tools I use - flashlight, mirror on a stick, 10mm ratchet (for tightening nuts around the tuning pegs), extra socket for larger bass tuning nuts and two small screwdrivers for the screws on the pegs themselves. I threw in some business cards so I'd have more with me and of course Fender 9's for the electric guitar and Martin SP's for the acoustic. (yes - these are the same strings I put on my Gretch and Takamine last week.

After snapping the first two pics, I realized I left out three things... First, an old white T-Shirt for applying the car wax. Second, a string winder on the left. This particular one has a snipper built into it. The last thing, on the right, is a tripod of sorts that holds the neck at a good position.

I have taken other people's guitars and "renew" them too! Contact me if you'd like me to do this for you... I'll supply the strings and of course the polish and so forth.

Wish us Godspeed on our travels!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 2014 Catch Up post...

Yes, gentle reader, it's been a while. How have you been? What's new in your life?

Me? Well I guess I could fill you in...

First of all, two posts ago I mentioned going into the studio. Well that was a VERY successful venture! I now have my first ever CD and it was done in a studio. It's called Homegrown and you can order it via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and CD Baby. I can also mail you a copy. And you can hear it on Spotify. Full details are on my website - http://www.jimmyandersonmusic.com

I have been playing at the Farmers Market in Dyersburg the last few Saturdays.

More recently, my band The Bare Basics played in Cayce, KY last night. We had a GREAT time! The crowd was small, but lively. I think they had almost as much fun as I did. :-)

My last post was talking about Dice Masters. Since I wrote that post I have driven to Memphis twice to play in two tournaments, one in Ripley and several in Dyersburg. It's a small investment compared to Magic and I'm enjoying it. I have even had a couple of guest posts published on a site called Dice Masters Rules. They have made me a full contributor and I plan to do at least one post a week... I already have an idea for my next three posts...

Speaking of gaming, I introduced my buddy Mark to X-Wing Miniatures and we spent about 9 hours playing a few weekends ago. Needless to say he is hooked. :-) As I've said, it's the new, faster Car Wars only Star Wars themed.

And speaking of Car Wars, Kyle has shown an interest now that Steve Jackson is bringing it back... We are going to be spending a few days with him later this week and attending Gen Con for the FIRST time ever! If you are going, PLEASE find me and give me a fist bump, a high five, a handshake - something. :-) I've known too many people via the Internet only and it would be great to meet you in person.

Speaking of Kyle, he's playing a force sensitive Jedi in our campaign of Edge of the Empire. I'm GM'ing this little thing over on roll20.net for him and my three gaming buddies from high school - Craig, Chris & Brent (and Brent's son). We are having a blast and Kyle and I are hoping to get in a face to face game at the con (yes, Phil (@darthgm on twitter) and Sam Witwer - I'm specifically talking to you...).

And lastly I've been listening to more and more gaming podcasts and making plans to meet some of the podcasters at Gen Con. With Car Wars coming back, my PBEM games still going strong and with the listening to more and more, maybe it's time I bring the Car Wars Podcast out of retirement?


And thanks for reading... I know it's a ramble but that's what happens when I go too long without posting... Gotta get back in the habit. :-)