Dungeons and Dragons

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Image credit: Geek and Sundry

So it is no secret that I have been super into Critical Role a Dungeons and Dragons game shown on Twitch every Thursday night. In the show a bunch of nerdy voice actors sit around and play their game which has been going on for about 5 years. These actors have been prevalent in their careers and many are in shows and video games. They speak and often stay in character for much of the show which plays out much like the radio dramas of the 40s except with improvisation added on top of it.

The ring leader of the entire show is Matthew Mercer, who as the show’s Dungeon Master, has the incredible task of making the world come to life with thrilling story hooks and wondrous and detailed descriptions.

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Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons and Dragons

These wonderful actors have inspired me to start my own campaign of D&D. After watching Matthew Mercer’s DM Tips show on the Geek and Sundry YouTube page I began to scour for more resources on how to be a great Dungeon Master. I stumbled across Matthew Coville’s YouTube and was hit with a cornucopia of wonderful information. I consumed several hours of his wonderful videos learning more and more how to do what I saw Matthew Mercer do seemingly effortlessly.

Which leads me to running my first session. I used some of the advice I had learned from the two “Matt’s” and created a small village for my players to begin in. Then I used the resources from Matthew Coville’s YouTube page to plan my encounters. He has wonderful pre-generated supplements for the Tavern like menu’s and people talking down to story hooks like rewards for Goblin pieces and a Blacksmith’s daughter being taken by goblins.

My first time in the DM’s chair did not run so smoothly. There are many things that I need to keep track of. I decided as I was going that many times, instead of having all of the goblins I payed interacting as individuals, I would have them all go at once for combat purposes. I also used some of the average statistics for some of the monsters, so that I could keep the flow of combat high, in order to keep the players engaged.  There are many challenges to running every character that the players encounter. The players asked me what a character was wearing, which was one thing that I did not have written down and had to improvise. Improvisation is much like a muscle: it gets stronger the more you use it. I took an improvisation class in high school, and that was the last time that I actively improvised to produce a creative product. In many ways I use improv skills at work as a teacher, however it is very different. At least I feel it is… In many ways I feel that I am more comfortable improving to students because I simply know more about a topic than they do. I can usually figure out the answer faster than they can, and even if I can’t “I don’t know, but I’ll look it up,” is an acceptable answer. In the case of D&D, I feel like it is my responsibility to be omnipotent when it comes to this world that I have created, when in reality, I know a lot about a small area. If the players decide to explore an area that I have not designed yet, what do I do then?

Much of my feeling can be summed up in a mechanic of a game I played as a kid. I used to play “Heroes of Might and Magic,” which was a turn based strategy game. When a new game was started, you could see a small portion of the map around your town, and as your Hero moved around the map, more would be revealed. This is very much how I feel about the Realm of Azmar. Image result for heroes of might and magic game map

Image credit: http://www.celestialheavens.com/viewpage.php?id=508

We are continuing the story this Saturday! I have done SO much world building since then. I am really excited for my players to experience this world that I have created for them. I am also really excited for the deeds that they are going to perform that will either temporarily or permanently change this world for better or for worse.

I am interested in doing a vlog debrief after each session. That will be posted over on my DadtheGeek YouTube channel. Also please checkout wethecommittee.wordpress.com and our Stream at twitch.tv/wethecommittee as my friends and I stream our favorite video games. Join us for random fun adventures and be sure to keep up with us on all of our social media accounts. Follow and Like me and The Committee on Facebook and twitter.

Store closing and New Project.

So I must be completely insane. I have taken on several new model projects during the heat of report card time at work.

Let me start at the beginning. Saturday was the last day of our local Games Workshop store. It is unfortunately going out of business. Making room for a Whole Foods of all things.

I took my Dark Angels 40k army down there and played in a “Kill Team” match. He other thing that I did was make a few purchases; mainly scenery, terrain, and other detail pieces.

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These pieces are the start of a whole 4′ x 6′ gaming table that I am building, and will be posting my progress.

Check out my progress on my YouTube channel here.
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Game Day at School!

This past Friday our school partook in a local school tradition. Each year the parish that my school is attached to throws an Oktoberfest fair with tons of rides and booths. We invite special needs children from all overhaul e county to come and ride the rides for free. This takes most of the day, but we still have 2 periods after lunch.

During these two periods teachers usually show movies (because, let’s face it, the students aren’t going to learn anything), but I took this opportunity to play some board games with my students. Check the photos to see what we played!

IMG_1716.JPG Rampage!

IMG_1717.JPG Escape: Curse of the Temple

IMG_1718.JPG Bang!

IMG_1719.JPG Catchphrase (an oldie but a goodie)

September 9, 2014: Day of the Tech Geek!

Tuesday last week was a big day in the tech geek world. Bungie, the video game company behind Xbox’s giant series Halo, launched their new cross platform game Destiny. In a previous post I mentioned that I had reserved a Special Edition Glacier White Playstation Bundle (check out that post here). The other big news is that Apple announced its new iPhone 6 and the accompanying Apple Watch….all I can say is that I want both of these devices!

Destiny has been an excellent ride so far. Currently I have played in areas on Earth, the Moon, and Venus. Destiny boasts four different forms of gameplay. There are missions that further the story, patrols which are open ended, strikes which pair players up over the internet to take on a particular mission of increased difficulty, and the PvP area they are calling the Crucible.

I have seen a couple of reviews online that describe the story to be lacking. The biggest thing that I thing could benefit the game is more cut speeches describing what is happening. When your character is first revived, your guide (a device called a ghost) tells you that you have been dead a long time and that you will see many things that do not make sense…many of these things can and in some cases are explained by cut scenes…I just think that there could be a little more story covered in these, or have a few more of them.

Players can choose one of three classes for their character to belong to. The Titan is usually on the front lines shooting and using different Melee attacks. The Hunter is the sniper and quick ninja-like players; focus here is on agility, either bringing the enemy down from afar and quickly moving on, or moving in for a quick silent kill. The Warlock has the power to buff members of your team as well as have some great powers for use against enemies.

I am going to write a full review once I have completed the full story.

Is there anything geeky that you are excited about? Be sure the leave me a comment down below. Also like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

RAMPAGE: An Initial Review

The purchase from Comic Con that I am the most proud of is RAMPAGE the board game! I first heard about this game earlier this year on a podcast called The D6 Generation and was super excited about what I heard!

I finally picked it up when I saw a great price for it at the Cool Stuff Inc booth.

STORY: In RAMPAGE you play an angry lizard monster whose goal is to destroy a city and eat “meeples.” You are also battling your fellow monsters for total domination.

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WHAT’S IN THE BOX?: This game has tons of different components. The first is the game board which is split into two pieces for storage. There is a bag full of different colored “meeple” or people made out of wood, another bag with wooden giant lizard shapes, circles (where the feet will go) and vehicle shapes, a bag of teeth, building floor tiles, card board player boards, and a sheet of stickers with vehicles, lizards, and lizard feet on them. Everything is extremely well made, although I will say that the card stock of the player boards is a bit too thin for my taste.

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GAMEPLAY: Players are assigned a color and begin each game with a character card, ability card (for use throughout the game), and a secret ability (one time use only…so choose wisely). A players turn is broken down into two phases: action phase and “chow down.” During the action phase players can perform any of four actions (or their ability) twice. These choices are movement, destroy a building, throw an object, or breathe fire. RAMPAGE is a dexterity based game so to do these actions actually requires some skill and a whole lot of luck. For moving you take your figure off of his feet disc and simply flick the disc…wherever it ends up that is where you have moved to. If you are close enough to a building you can choose to destroy it by lifting your token and dropping it on the building created by floor tiles and supported by meeples. To throw an object, it is placed on the token’s head and flicked off. To breathe fire, you just place your chin on the head of the monster and blow. After two of these actions you may then chow down on all of the floors and meeples you have knocked into the neighborhood you occupy. The game ends when a certain number of meeples have “fled the city” (a meeple has fled when they are knocked off the game board). There are so many intricacies that I have not gotten into, but this should give you the gist. If you want to see more on gameplay checkout the article on Board Game Geek

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MY TAKE: This game is tons of fun and makes for a mess of a game board. Even Claire was interested in smashing the buildings and collecting meeples. We had a last playing this game, and the dexterity element adds something that I have not encountered yet in other games. I give this game four out of five stars.

Do you have a favorite board game? Leave me a comment below. Also be sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter.

Magic the Gathering Initial Review

So this is my second weekend play Magic the Gathering and I have to say that I am enjoying every game that I have played.

For those who have not played it. It is a Trading Card Game in which you summon creatures to both block damage from and deal damage to an opponent.

Naturally since you are summoning things and performing spells you play as a kind of wizard. In the Magic universe these wizards are called “Planeswalkers.” You can base your deck around the five colors or mana or magic. All of the starter decks come centered around 2 colors. From there you can choose for yourself whether or not to diversify.

For the most part game play is quick. There was little to no analysis paralysis except when we had to look up an effect or keyword. From what I can tell Magic releases new sets every year and each set has new keywords for each color.

I can honestly say that the starter packs seem like the most affordable way to get started and seem to be relatively well matched across the different color combinations.

Even though I currently have a loosing record, I look forward to my next game! I do. Not know why I have waited this long to get Into this game, especially since it is this nerdy.

I am going to give it a 4 out of 5 for the average nerdy gamer, +1 if you are into the fantasy genre and -1 if you do not like Trading Card Games.
Enjoy some pics of Alex and I playing today.

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First Foray into Magic the Gathering

This past weekend I went to my local gaming store with my sister and her boyfriend. Amanda and Claire were out shopping with Grandma so I had the afternoon to myself. Our mission was to pick up a particular board game that I was looking for. Since this past Saturday had been “International Tabletop Day” I was thinking that there would be some great deals on recently opened Board Games.

The game we were looking for was called Rampage. It is a dexterity based game. But alas our search came up empty. In going through though we came up with several ideas that would make this summer fantastic. It is our plan to form a game group to do a different gaming style on a weekly basis.

What does this have to do with MTG (Magic the Gathering). In order to heal our broken hearts the two boys bought starter sets. They were very reasonable priced and each came with 2 booster packs. Now keep in mind that the last trading card game that I have been involved with was Pokemon back when I was in Middle School. We ended up shuffling up and having some fun playing a few games.