Dragon Age Inquisition: A Review After A Few Hours Of Gameplay

So, I wandered into GameStop Tuesday morning just looking to see what I could get.  Little did I know that my pre-ordered copy of Dragon Age Inquisition Deluxe Edition for PlayStation 4 was sitting there waiting for me.  I happily picked it up and went back home.  Now, I’d intended to set it aside and get to work in The Iron Banner in Destiny in order to get my raid-level gloves but like a man under a siren’s song, I found myself ejecting the disc for Destiny and inserting Dragon Age.  After the usual install and update process (as well as taking the time to download the bonuses for my Deluxe Edition), I started playing the game.

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Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: Kenneth Hite and the Dracula Dossier!

FB_HITE.fwOn this week’s show, writer/game-designer Kenneth Hite joins us.  The Day After Ragnarok creator is kickstarting a new campaign setting for Pelgrane Press’ Vampire Spy Thriller Gumshoe-based RPG Night’s Black Agents, The Dracula Dossier.  Ken tells us all about the project and we take the opportunity to chat him up about Star Trek and Day After Ragnarok as well.

Want more Ken?  Check out his podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff!

The Reign of Ironclaw is HERE!  Check out Knights of Reignsborough Season 3!  Episode seven is coming this weekend!

Also, check out the Ideology of Madness YouTube Channel for enhanced content!

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Shadowrun: Crossfire

CrossfireCoverI seem to have an abiding fascination with deck building games. They allow me to get my Magic: The Gathering fix without the massive investment in money and time. The newest one that I’ve been lucky to play is Shadowrun: Crossfire.

Shadowrun: Crossfire is a cooperative deck building game built upon the setting of Shadowrun. Players take on the roles of Mages, Faces, Street Samurai, or Deckers. The game is for 2-4 players and according to the box should take 30 minutes to play.

Each player chooses a metatype which determines starting hand size, starting nuyen, and maximum health. The choices are human, troll, elf, orc, and dwarf. Players then choose a role which determines which starter deck they receive. There are four types of cards necessary to overcome obstacles; skills, decking, magic, and equipment. Each role gets more of the type of card that matches the role. Samurai receive more weapons, and so on. Any given role can accomplish a given challenge but it will take time without help.

The objective of the game is to complete a scenario and receive karma which can be spent on character upgrades. Scenarios are completed by overcoming a set number of obstacles. These are cards which are placed in front of players and represent something in the Shadowrun universe like gangs or security. The top of each obstacle lists what cards and in what order they must be played to overcome the obstacle. The obstacle card also lists the amount of nuyen available upon the completing the card as well as the damage it deals if left for a full round. On a players turn they can play the cards in their hand. They able to play them on any obstacle in play thus working a more difficult obstacle out of play to earn more nuyen or protect a weak player. After playing their cards, a player can buy cards from the center with the nuyen that they have. This builds the deck so that they can overcome obstacles quicker.

There are a few things that make this standout from other deck building games. First, there is the crossfire deck. This is a set of cards that serve as a timing mechanic. For each full round of play that passes with their still being an obstacle on the board, you pull a card from the crossfire deck. These are cards that increase the difficulty of the game in some fashion. there are a few positive cards but they are rare. They also have triggers for how many crossfire cards are in the discard pile which can make a card even more difficult. This serves to simulate the pressure of needing to get a job done quickly. Second, you earn karma which is experience which can be spent on upgrades. As a fan of the table top role playing game Shadowrun, I like seeing karma being incorporated. It provides a nice way to customize the game for each player thus keeping the game fresh. Finally, the metatype cards are designed to be kept by the player. They have slots on them where stickers go to keep track of upgrades.

I only have two issues with the game. One is that I am collector at heart. I love the idea of the players getting to keep their metatype card but the thought of putting a sticker on it makes me cringe. I thought it would be easier to keep a sheet with a list of upgrades on it rather than mar the neat card included in the game. I know, I’m crazy, but it bugs me.The other is that it was several games before we ever won. This is standard for cooperative games but it makes me wonder if I would ever use the hard level rules which are included in the game.

Overall, Shadowrun: Crossfire is an excellent deck building game. It captures the feel of the table top role playing game and has excellent replayability. It has a retail price of $59.99 which is a bit steep but can be found on-line for about $39.99. It is well worth the investment.

Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: Bang it Out!

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The universe is at stake! Spider-Verse has alternate universe Spider-Men in danger. Secret Wars and Convergence see Marvel and DC’s multiverses clashing against each other. The Black Vortex sees the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy colliding. And John Carter returns as the Warlord of Mars! So much galactic action in this week’s new episode of Funnybooks!

  • Aron saw Interstellar
  • The Six Billion Dollar Man with Marky Mark
  • Paul saw Marvel Universe Live
  • Amazing Spider-Man #9 – PWA
  • Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 – PWA
  • Secret Wars and Convergence
  • Action Comics #36 – PA
  • Earth 2: World’s End #5 – PA
  • Earth 2 #28 – PA
  • Gotham Academy #2 – PW
  • The Black Vortex (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=56842)
  • Legendary Star-Lord #5 – PA
  • John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 – PA
  • Tooth and Claw #1 – PA

The Reign of Ironclaw is HERE!  Check out Knights of Reignsborough Season 3!  Episode seven is coming next weekend!

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Pathfinder: Inner Sea Gods

PZO9267My gateway into roleplaying games and the science fiction & fantasy genre was mythology. In elementary school, I found a book on Greek and Roman mythology and I was hooked. I would spend my time in the school and local library finding what other books about mythology they had. My sources did not have the breadth and depth that one can find on the internet today but I was tenacious. I remember reading Egyptian, Finnish, Aztec, and Mayan mythologies and just imagining the worlds that these people inhabited.

I enjoy playing Pathfinder as it has this broad setting that has so much potential but the books themselves are almost all mechanics. They leave out setting stories that I so badly want when I am playing a roleplaying game. This is not to say that the lack of setting material makes it impossible for me to play in a world. Far from it. I enjoy Apocalypse World wherein the group created the setting as they go. If I am given a robust setting at the outset, I want to be able to read about it as I digest the mechanics. This makes everything coalesce for me.

In Pathfinder and other variants of D&D, this is even more important for me. I play clerics. I invest my character into the deity that they represent. I can play a stereotypical member of the clergy but I would much rather have some depth, even if it is only just in my head. Pathfinder has suffered in my eyes for this lack of information in the base books. There is plenty of setting information strewn about in their adventures. I have not had the opportunity to participate in any of these so I miss this information and feel left out as a fan of the system.

Inner Sea Gods corrects this problem. This is a campaign setting book that addresses the main gods in the largest section of the setting. It delves deeply into each deity and and provides information on the deity, their church, the priest’s role, relations with other religions, realms, and planar allies.They take what has been a single class and give players a means of taking that class and tailoring it to fit their specifications. In addition, the authors provide aphorisms and holidays that allows players to add even more depth to their interaction with the setting.

I picked up the book and was in heaven. The book provides a better understanding of how each religion fits within the setting as well as how the people in a given village would see a cleric of a particular deity. From a player perspective, I feel like I have a better grasp of the cleric in this setting. I can participate more fully with those who are veterans of the setting without continually asking how this or that religion is viewed. As a GM, I now have ways of both making the games I run have more depth and a way reward my players that are vested in the setting by being aware of this investment more fully.

The book is gorgeous. It is a full color hard back book that weighs in at hefty 332 pages with a price point of $39.99. The art is gorgeous throughout. In particular I loved the depictions of each deity presented. The picture of Sarenrae was just gorgeous. There is plenty of setting material presented but the mechanics are not ignored either. There are three prestige classes presented in this book and each deity has a list of benefits that they provide to members of these classes. In addition to these new prestige classes, there are new feats, spells, and magic items added to the mix as well. The various altars are a nice way to add a nice benefit for clerics to visit temples before heading out on an adventure.

Pathfinder: Inner Sea Gods is a book that has been sorely needed in the Pathfinder library. It fleshes out the setting for those of who don’t play the adventure paths and has plenty of crunch to add to any on-going game. I am very glad I picked it up. If you are a fan of Pathfinder, then this is an excellent addition to your library.

 

Reign of Ironclaw: Your City is Doomed!

kor_s03e06.fw…This is it, Citizens!  It’s the final face off between the honorable powers of the United Tribe and their loyal, Nazi allies against the stinking, traitorous Aquaiians and the terrorist organization of Shadow Override. 

We’d love to hear from you! We’re busily preparing for the Season 3 Feedback Show.  So, give us a call and share your comments, questions, and suggestions. If we use your voicemail in the show, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize!

GM’s note: Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is a role playing game actual play podcast. It is not our intent to teach a system, rather to entertain. As such, much of the game mechanic discussion has been edited from the audio.

Special thanks to Tony Mast and Gary Layton for lending their voice talent.

Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw Epilogue will be released the weekend of November 22.

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Reign of Ironclaw: The Matching Point

kor_s03e05.fwAs answers are finally achieved, the stakes are revealed while a storm boils on the horizon…

We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call and share your comments, questions, and suggestions. If we use your voicemail in the show, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize!

GM’s note: Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is a role playing game actual play podcast. It is not our intent to teach a system, rather to entertain. As such, much of the game mechanic discussion has been edited from the audio.

Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is on a bi-weekly release schedule.  Episode 4 will be released the weekend of October 24th.

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DC Deck Building Game: Heroes Unite

db2_game_boxThere are a plethora of deck building games on the market. They followed hot on the heals of the success of Ascension. I love Ascension and was pleased to see that comics took a leap in to this genre and produced several games worth giving a look.

the game that I have had a chance to play on several occasions is DC Deck Building Game: Heroes Unite. This is a standalone game for 2 to 5 players. The suggested age range is fifteen and up and it lists a game as taking forty minutes. the objective of the game is to have the most victory points. These points are acquired through purchasing cards from the central area and defeating super-villains.

The game mechanics are simple. Each player either chooses or is assigned a Hero. Each hero does something different which provides a direct path to victory. Each player has a starter deck which the shuffle and draw five cards. the starter deck is composed of punches and vulnerabilities. punches provide power which is used to purchase other cards and vulnerabilities just take up space. The cards available for purchase are of several different types reflecting the DC comics universe. There are powers, heroes, villains, locations, and equipment.

Timing is handled through the use of super-villains. A pile of super-villains is created at the beginning of the game based on the number of players. once the last one is defeated points are tallied and a winner declared.

After playing several games, I have to say that I rather enjoy it. The mechanics are simple to understand and easy to pick up. The use of heroes to provide a rules exception is nice and a pleasant twist on the deck building idea. In particular, I enjoy the attack rule. Villains and super-villains can have an attack listed. This is a rule that goes into effect each time they come into play. They range from the innocuous which gives a player a weakness to debilitating in the form of discarding one of your high-value cards from play. One of the things that I found annoying was that there would be powers that came up in the middle that matched your super-hero but you would never get them. I now that it makes strategic sense to prevent the other player from getting things that make them efficient but I want Booster Gold to have Skeets not some Red Tornado power.

they could have come up with a better name as well. Sure, DC Deck Building game is descriptive but it certainly lacks a certain flair one would expect from a comic book property.

Other than that, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of DC Deck Building Game: Heroes Unite. It promises hours of fun with a large replay shelf-life.

Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: Tim Dandy!

FBEP256.fwPauloween is over, and Paul is going through the DTs. But his need for excitement is being fed by Marvel Studios’ huge movie slate announcement last week, which the guys discuss at length! In addition to all the movie goodness talk, plenty of talk about comic-related TV shows, and some of the latest comic releases, including some new titles, Rasputin from Image Comics and Dark Gods from Avatar!

  • Halloween is over!
  • Marvel’s huge Phase 3 announcement
  • TV Show Update: Arrow, Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Constantine
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Three
  • New Supergirl and Krypton TV shows
  • Deathstroke #1
  • Sinestro #6
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #20
  • All-New X-Men #33
  • Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #2 & #3
  • Nightcrawler #7
  • Rasputin #1
  • Dark Gods #1

The Reign of Ironclaw is HERE!  Check out Knights of Reignsborough Season 3!  Episode six is coming this weekend!

Also, check out the Ideology of Madness YouTube Channel for enhanced content!

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Destiny and DLC. Why People Shouldn’t Be Freaking Out

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As you might’ve guessed from my previous post on the subject, I’m an avid Destiny player.  I picked up the game at launch and play it for a couple hours at a time at least 4-5 times a week (I have an incredibly understanding girlfriend).  In my previous post I discussed how much I enjoy the game, as well as my feelings of disappointment towards certain aspects of it.  An incredibly vocal group of Destiny players have been calling Bungie out of late in regards to content (or a lack thereof) and them introducint DLC.  A great many of them end with a statement that they’re going to be picking up Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare when it comes out and that they’re leaving Destiny for it.  As such, I decided to compare the two using the most recent game, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and decided that they’re welcome to leave, but history shows that they’d be getting the short end of the stick. Now I’ve played both games extensively and, with the exception of the last 2, purchased Ghost’s DLC packs. My 2 big categories of comparison are Launch Content and DLC content/price.

Content at Launch:

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Average Duration of Single Player: 3-5 hours.
Number of Multiplayer PvP Maps: 14
Number of PvP Game Modes: 15 (although each are variations on a couple basic themes)

Destiny

Average Duration of Single Player: 10-13 Hours
Number of Multiplayer PvP Maps: 11
Number of PvP Game Modes: 6

Winner – Depends on player preferance

Well, this one’s a more based on your gamestyle. If you prefer co-op missions and duration of game, Destiny wins due to a longer campaign mode and the ability to co-op.  Unfortunately, the disconnection between missions, ability to run them out of order, and mild repetition causes the game’s MMO referances to show and serves to make the story a little disconnected and hard to follow but being able to run them co-op makes them entertaining by having your friends there. However, if you prefer PvP CoD:G wins due to the larger number of maps and increased number of game modes.

DLC:

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Price of DLC: $14.99 Individually or all 4 as part of the Season Pass for $50 total (or $12 apiece).
Content of DLC: 4 PvP maps, 1 storyline for Extinction (equal to a Destiny Raid), 1 gun
Additional DLC: Skin packs could be bought for $2.99 apiece that would change how your guns and emblems looked. This was purely cosmetic and had no impact on the game.

Destiny

Price of DLC: $20 individually or $30-$32 as part of the Expansion Pass ($15-$16 apiece)
Content of DLC: If The Dark Below is any indication, each DLC will contain 5 story missions, 3 PvP maps, 1 Strike (or two if you’re on PlayStation), 1 Raid, 6 sets of armor (2 for each class, one raid and one from Eris), 8 weapons, and 3 ships (cosmetic feature for now).
Additional DLC: None announced, but Bungie said in an interview there might be DLC themed weapon/armor packs, but they’ll never be stronger than what you get for free in the core game, just different looking, thus preventing a pay-to-win

Winner – Destiny

While the DLC of CoD:G is cheaper, it contains far less content than the Destiny DLC does.

 

While I can understand the frustration of paying for content after getting the game, Destiny was always intended to expand beyond launch.  Just look at now popular MMOs like WoW and you can see how they started relatively small and repetitive and, after quite a few paid expansions, wound up huge and versatile.  Destiny is just going to be one of those games that needs time to see if we’re just going to get fed the same old crap over and over or if it can truly become the epic game that Bungie believes it will be.