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Jeff's Gameblog
Monday, 10 May 2004

Thanks to my Game Courier preset for SpaceWarp44, I am now in the running in the main category for the 44 squares contest. This turn of events pleases me to no end, even if I stand no chance fo winning the contest. I bask in the warmth of the sense of accomplishment I recieve by completing my entry and the preset for it. Go me!

There's been talk, just idle chit-chat, that maybe next years contest could be 45 pieces rather than 45 squares, or maybe have two categories in the next contest. Last night on the drive home from my folks house I came up with an idea for a 45 piece game that would combine Hnefatafl with Chaturanga style historical pieces.

Posted by jrients at 11:39 AM CDT
Sunday, 9 May 2004

My list of WWI subjects to read more about is growing. This time it's the Battle of Jutland. One of Jim Dunnigan's earliest Avalon Hill products was his Jutland game. I've heard it influenced both naval games like Pat's beloved Harpoon and space games like Star Fleet Battles and its children. A copy almost always comes up for sale at the Winter War game auction, and there's usually one available on eBay for about a fiver minimum.

Last night I printed out some Gamma World articles from my Dragon CD-ROM. I've got a couple little articles written for my 1st edition rules, but the real Gamma World gold, from the ARES Section era, is all second edition material. The two editions are probably more compatible than any other 2 editions ('cept maybe GW d20 and Omega World), but still all this material argues for getting the second edition rules. Like the first edition only a screen and a couple modules were published, so I'm not biting off too much.

I got to play Carcassonne and SpaceWarp44 with Jenny today. She whupped me in Carcassonne to the tune of about 50 points. She resigned the first game of SW44 but was eager for a rematch, which we were unable to finish. I recorded our positions so we could resume our game on another day.

On the way home some ideas occurred to me regarding my as-yet unnamed Tamerlane+Gothic+Omega variant:

1) The Prince, the promoted Pawn of King, should move as a King+Knight. The King+Alibaba I had thought of earlier is too close to the Champion's Wazir+Alibaba.

2) In addition to checkmate and Wizard's occupying enemy towers, you can also win by elminating the King's Cabinet: Queen, Minister, Cardinal, and Prince (if in play).

Posted by jrients at 8:42 PM CDT
Saturday, 8 May 2004

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. As part of the festvities I'm hoping to see my sister. Maybe we can finally play SpaceWarp44 or at least Carcassonne.

At the library today I got a couple of Jack the Ripper books, JtR: A to Z and JtR: the Uncensored Facts. The virtual card catalog also indicated that the Champaign Public Library had a copy of the JtR Companion.

I'm finally playing some games over at Chess Variant's Game Courier. The interface is a little crude compared to ItsYourTurn but the editor is easy enough even a non-coder like me can put together a playset for a variant. Right now I'm playing two games that were entered into the 44 squares contest: Hole Chess and Oblong Chess 44, which I'm playing with the inventor of the game. I especially like Oblong Chess 44 as it is a variant on a historic chess predecessor.

Posted by jrients at 2:17 PM CDT
Friday, 7 May 2004
speaking of Mr. Carr...
Mike Carr, creator of Dawn Patrol was kind enough to write back. I had sent him a letter asking if the roleplaying aspects of his game were present in editions that pre-dated the publication of D&D. He replied in the affirmative, thereby confirming my hypothesis that Dawn Patrol, not D&D, is the first game ever published that fits into the category of "role-playing game" as we understand that term today. Mr. Carr's note was brief, but he promised to write a more lengthy reply soon.

In a very nice gesture, he also invited me to the upcoming Dawn Patrol mini-con, to be held next weekend in Kankakee, IL. Although the event is only an hour and aa half away on a well-known route, I feel I must decline. It seems just a tad bit foolish of me to travel a 3-hour round trip and pay admission to a con that focuses on a single game, what with me never having played that game and all.

Posted by jrients at 7:44 PM CDT

A nice fellow at rpg.net who goes by Unterhund was able to provide me with the missing piece (the map of Britol and key thereto) for my copy of The Horn of Roland, one of the three published adventure modules for Lords of Creation. This contribution means that, apart from magazine articles and such, my LoC set is now complete.

Lords of Creation was written by none other than Tom Moldvay, who was editor for my alltime favorite version of Dungeons & Dragons, the '81 Basic Rules. Comparing Moldvay's D&D edition to the earlier original material, the blue '77 Basic rules, and the later '83 Mentzer rules, I long ago came to the conclusion that Tom Moldvay was one of the more underappreciated talents in the history of the hobby. Maybe he's not as deserving of praises as Dave Arneson or Greg Costikyan or possibly Mike Carr, still he's an all too often overlooked figure in the history of the hobby. If I had more material, he'd have a virtual shrine done up in the manner in which I venerate Erol Otus.

LoC is kinda interesting, being a multi-genre game that was released as part of Avalon Hill's attempt to get into the RPG market. Other rpgs done by AH included an edition of Runequest and the fantasy rpg Powers & Perils. Again, like the TSR Conan debacle, we see a veteran game company that is not smart enough to avoid a simple trap: Don't release two fantasy rpgs at the same time, people!

AH was also responsible for James Bond 007, though I believe it was released under their Victory Games imprint. For a little look at the licensing of the 007 games, check out this article. For an interesting article on movie licensing & rpgs, check out S. John Ross's Flickering Lights. While you're over there, check out the entirety of S. John's site. S. John Ross rules.

While I'm throwing out slightly relevant linkage, I would be remiss if I were to omit Al Bruno the Third's Lords of Creation story. Al (known as Ab3 on RPGnet) writes some funny, funny stuff.

For a review of Lords of Creation, click here.

Posted by jrients at 4:51 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 7 May 2004 7:51 PM CDT
Thursday, 6 May 2004

In the shower this morning I did some thinking about my large variant project. I think the pawn of king will promote to a Prince, a non-royal which moves as a King plus Alibaba. Another way to think of the Prince in this version would be as an Alfil + Dabbabh + Ferz + Wazir.

The wizard's towers will have two special rules: 1) placing your king in the enemies tower draws the game and 2) occupying both enemy towers with you own wizards wins the game.

Posted by jrients at 10:24 AM CDT

Crap! I totally forgot to mention that Dave invited Pat and I to a Tacos & LAN party on the evening of the 22nd. That's pretty cool of Dave. I'm going to try to arrange things so I can go. I may be pretty bad at modern videogames (heck, I wasn't even that good back in the day) but it still sounds like a lot of fun. And I've heard that Dave makes some kickass tacos. Arriba!

Posted by jrients at 10:07 AM CDT

Another item I submitted went up over at chessvariants.com, this time a 'preset' for Game Courier, the Chess Variant Pages online game system. With this new preset avaiable people will be able to play Oblong Chess 44 online. After seeing my attempt to code the preset succeeded I immediately challenged Erez Schatz, the author of Oblong 44, to a game. Hopefully I will get a response soon. I also whipped up a preset for my game SpaceWarp44. With luck, this preset will allow my variant to be judged in the Main Category of the 44 squares contest.

There are plenty of other variants I'd like to do presets for, notably Enochian Chess. I'm pretty sure Game Courier would only support 2-handed play, but that's better than nothing.

Posted by jrients at 9:53 AM CDT

Last night was another stirring session of Dave Hoover's Savage Worlds campaign "Avatars". I am really enjoying Dave's game. Loren brought in a new character, Myron the Mystic, to replace his ranger Artemis (R.I.P.). I think Myron is going to work out better, as far as getting along with the rest of the party goes. Plotwise we are in a tight jam at the moment. Lars, the uncle of Little Jonny (Ray's kid PC) is being held as a hostage by some Twisted (a race of Quasimodos). We only have a few days to bring them our old enemy the bandit leader Gor. We tracked his sorry ass back to the city of Braunshae only to discover that he's being shielded by his dad, a high-ranking Champion of Justice! My character also had a bit of a breakthrough with Rongo the Warrior. My guy no longer considers Rongo a complete psycho.

I'm looking forward to next session, but man we gotta bust Gor. Otherwise Lars is a goner and I just might burst from the frustration!

Posted by jrients at 9:47 AM CDT
Wednesday, 5 May 2004
A Century of Adventure
Would you call a collection of at least 10 sessions about the same family a campaign? What if between each session you advanced the timeline a decade? What if you used several different game systems?

1880's Boot Hill, Victorian Cthulhu
1890's Boot Hill, Victorian Cthulhu
1900's ?
1910's Dawn Patrol
1920's Cthulhu, Gangbusters
1930's Cthulhu, Gangbusters, Sniper
1940's Sniper
1950's GURPS Atomic Horror
1960's Recon
1970's Recon
1980's James Bond 007

GURPS Atomic Horror is a bit of a stretch.

Posted by jrients at 4:09 PM CDT

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