John-Michael Gariepy

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Free Parking: Gazing into the Abyss


Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

While few people on the internet appear to have played more than five different board games in their life times, they have very strong opinions of those games they played. Let’s look in on one blurg I stole from x-entertainment.com:

3) Free Parking Rules: Ugh. Free Parking was one of the most hideously misunderstood phenomenons of all time. I really can’t remember what the rules stated, but it didn’t really matter, since most groups made up their own rules. And since we played with so many people at once, the rules could never be agreed upon. I was always of the mind that you stuck a few hundred dollars in the pot initially, and added any income tax/fee money to it as you went along. Others felt that you should stick a thousand dollars in there to start, adding 500 each time all the players crossed the board.

There’s a reason why no one can remember what the Free Parking rule is, and that’s because there is none. Honestly. Peel open your copy of the rules for Monopoly and look for the ‘Free Parking’ rule. I’ll save you time; This is the entire entry for the ‘Free Parking’ space in the Official Monopoly Rules Page:

“A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a “free” resting-place.”

Weird, huh? But, whatever. Monopoly was made in 1934 and we’re closing in on a century worth of play. Most people put money in the center of the board when money would be given back to the bank, and when a player lands on Free Parking, that player takes all that money. It’s like a fun mini-game, and since everyone does it,

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Dungeons and Dragons Random Encounters: Level 19

For an explanation and introduction to Random Encounters, go to Why would anyone make a giant chart of Random Encounters?

Roll once for each adventurer in your party.  Whenever you roll a Brute, or a Soldier, add two of that creature and roll one less time total.  If the last creature you roll is a brute, or a soldier, your players will have to suck it up.  There will be more experience for them anyway.  Whenever Minions are rolled, add the number of minions shown to the encounter and count them as one creature for the purposes of generating an encounter.  Whenever an Elite creature is rolled, count it as two separate creatures for the purpose of generating an encounter.  When a Solo creature is a, stop rolling, since a solo monster by itself is a good challenge for characters of that level.  If you’ve already rolled up three creatures before the solo joined the party, you may want to indicate to your players that now would be a good time to run…

01- 05 Roll again in the Level 18 Random Encounter Chart.

06 – 10 Roll on the Random Hindrances Chart.

11 – 13 (Solo Artillery) Beholder Eye Tyrant

14- 19 (Elite Brute) Angel of Vengeance

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DC Adventures Character Sheet: Jeannette

In DC Adventures Log 3: Bad Medicine, Part 2, Badder Medicine, Team Lex encountered the Secret Six, split into two groups.   The smaller of the two was left to cause havoc in Metropolis as a distraction and included Jeannette.

Most of Jeannette’s contemporaries in The Six are Power Level 11, but I wanted Jeannette to be a threat to the players by her lonesome, so I ratcheted her up to a PL14.  I don’t think many fanboys and fangirls would put Jeannette on par with the heavy hitters of the DC Universe, but Jeannette has successfully gone toe to toe with Wonder Woman before and won (you know, by going full on Banshee), so it isn’t in the realm of impossible.

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Session Impressions – Ascension: Storm of Souls

I was late to the party on the Ascension: Storm of Souls podcast, walking in while it was halfway through.  My first response is disparaging because I didn’t know we were recording, was asked “How do you feel about the new Ascension expansion” and, knowing that I was talking to a room full of game reviewers, jumped into argument mode.  Sarah is really good at editing, however.  She cut and pasted three comments that made it sound like I knew we were recording and had ‘jumped right into the show’.

Ascension, Storm of Souls is a good game.  If I sound like I’m down on it, it’s only because I like what Ascension is doing so much that I want to get in there and help with the design.  Most of the choices Justin Gary made, though, are valid options, and I’m glad that Ascension provides a solid alternative design to the Deck Building Model.

At one point, I mention that I don’t really need to play the new expansion, because I haven’t spent enough time playing any of the older expansions.  Take that comment with a grain of salt as well.  The Myriad Games Presentations staff plays a lot of games.  When I say something like that, what I’m really saying is “Man!  I wish I got to play more Ascension.  That’s a really good game, and I haven’t had my fill of it, but I’m stuck here reviewing Tulipmania.”

DC Adventures Log 4: Before I Kill You, Mr. Aquaman…

In our last episode, Bad Medicine, Part 2:  Badder Medicine, Team Lex dumped the Secret Six into the Hobbs River. Free falling, Abra Kadabra teleported himself and Thomas Weston into the Lexcorp Tower’s Olympic Pool.  As fate would have it, Kadabra and Weston splashed down on top of Lex Luthor in the midst of his swim routine.  After berating Weston for putting Venom on the streets of Metropolis as a party drug, Lex invited Kadabra to his office to increase his pay, congratulate him on how fast he solved the case (Team Lex had been time travelling, so Weston was dropped off in Lexcorp Towers minutes after the group got their assignment) and attempted to strategize ways to deal with Booster Gold when he would inevitably turn on Lex.  After the talk, however, Lex’s initial impression that Kadabra is a grandstanding fool was reconfirmed, and Lex sent him away with a promise to replace Kadabra’s ruined cravat.

When Team Lex returned to the 99th floor of Lexcorp towers, they were introduced to a new member:  Fire.  Unfortunately, the team had time travelled back twelve hours and were exhausted from a long night’s work.  They returned to their warm beds that their twelve-hour ago selves had left minutes before, leaving Fire to hang out with herself in the den.

When the group woke up, they were informed by Mercy Graves that, since they had taken care of their last assignment so fast, that they had the rest of the day off.  Booster tried to contact Rip Hunter, but found the connection was down.  Abra Kadabra went to a local burn ward and healed the burn victims faces, leaving trademark gigantic wax mustaches as part of his new “Kadabra Kares” program.  The rest of the team went out patrolling and found Crazy Quilt shaking an old woman Read more…

Dungeons and Dragons Random Encounters: Level 18

For an explanation and introduction to Random Encounters, go to Why would anyone make a giant chart of Random Encounters?

Roll once for each adventurer in your party.  Whenever you roll a Brute, or a Soldier, add two of that creature and roll one less time total.  If the last creature you roll is a brute, or a soldier, your players will have to suck it up.  There will be more experience for them anyway.  Whenever Minions are rolled, add the number of minions shown to the encounter and count them as one creature for the purposes of generating an encounter.  Whenever an Elite creature is rolled, count it as two separate creatures for the purpose of generating an encounter.  When a Solo creature is a, stop rolling, since a solo monster by itself is a good challenge for characters of that level.  If you’ve already rolled up three creatures before the solo joined the party, you may want to indicate to your players that now would be a good time to run…

01- 05 Roll again in the Level 17 Random Encounter Chart.

06 – 10 Roll on the Random Hindrances Chart.

11 – 14 (Artillery) Cambion Hellfire Mage

15- 18 (Artillery) Fire Giant Forgecaller

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Power Grid: First Sparks – Respect: What Is It?

Let’s say you have a new public park in your city.  It’s nice and open with plenty of space for sports, a play yard for children, some grills… nothing too fancy, but there was a lot of thought put into this park.  Let’s say that after one week of the park being open to the public, a huge crevice opened up.  It’s about twenty feet across, five feet wide and ten feet deep, and stretches between the see-saws and the tennis court.  It was nobody’s fault:  There was a small underground cave here that no one knew about, and the increased foot traffic toppled the cave’s roof in.  Let’s say the park authority put a bunch of signs up and some traffic cones.  It’s been a month now, and this is it.  When people contact the park authorities, their response is “We informed the public about the hole, took out space in the local newspapers and clearly marked the hole so that no one could fall in by accident.  If anyone falls in and hurts themselves, it’s their own fault.”  How would you feel about that?

I feel that way every time I think of Power Grid: First Sparks.

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DC Adventures Character Sheet: Ragdoll

In DC Adventures Log 3: Bad Medicine, Part 2, Badder Medicine, Team Lex’s plans runs afoul the Secret Six.  Some of the mysteriously inappropriately named Six (Bane, Catman, Deadshot and Knockout) can be found in already existing DC Adventures products.  Scandal Savage doesn’t have anything really weird going on, so I just used Nightwing for her stats.  Black Alice is roughly whatever character her power is currently replicating.  Jeannette, in theory, could be a warrior, minus some stats plus an affliction ability when she banshee screams… and that’s assuming you plan on going Banshee with Jeanette.  Otherwise the PL-10 Warrior template is probably fine for her.  Since I planned to have Jeannette go full on Banshee at PL – 14, I made a character for her, but that’s for another week.

And then, there’s Ragdoll.

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