Thursday, January 19, 2017

Firefly.. updates and Cargo Crate

Since playing in the Firefly game at GaryCon last year, I have been getting into the show and collectibles 

It started with the Firefly RPG that I bought at GaryCon and Margaret Weis was kind enough to find me and sign my book the following day

So now I am into collectibles and playing different games. Every other month I get a Cargo Crate with stuff from the shows. It usually has a figure, Tshirt, a Pin, some print outs stickers and other stuff... 

Reviews of Firefly Related Merchandice

So now I decided to review other items as well...  I will update and review other items as find them or play them

Firefly Role Playing Games (********)

I learned how to play this by playing a Gamemaster Character at Garycon. I was playing the major role of the buyer for the Lassiter and Margaret Weis was playing Jayne in the game...

It was my first exposure to the Cortex system and Dice pools...

Having a Major success with one die roll and taking out Inara (she planned to use her feminine ways to tire me out before the negotiations) I enjoyed the game very much...

Margaret said if I bought the game, she would find me the next day and sign it... I was hooked...

I have since ran this at a con in New Jersey and 2 sessions for my Friday night group... It takes a bit to get used to it and the shooting / Fighting is a bit loosely defined.. but if you want to play as the Crew of Serenity, it is pretty cool...

Firefly Cargo Crate (Bi Monthly Subscription) (**********)

Firefly Cargo Crate Sign up

best Serenity Model

If you want collectibles and some of the Shiniest damn stuff, this is for you. At about $40, you get a box packed with stuff.

Shirt, Pin, Sticker, Book of schematics, Cargo Crate Labels and so much more... Every month is a different theme.. this was from Serenity

Previous Themes

Shiny - Kaylee Figure
Let's be bad Guys - Jayne
Big Damn Heroes - Zoe
Leaf on the Wind - Wash

February - YOSAFFBRIDGE - That Special Hell
April - THE WORTHIER PART!  - Sheppard Book

Firefly Fluxx (********)

LINK  - Firefly Fluxx Products

Fluxx is a game where things change, Rules, Goals and keepers all change. 
Even people not exposed to Firefly will enjoy this game. 
I received the Safron Expansion pack in a Cargo Crate, so this worked on getting me to buy the game.. we enjoyed Fluxx and then got the Batman version version a few days later

It is best played with 4 or more players
I like the Expansion cards, all of the expansion cards available are pictured below

Best Strategy, Get Zoe, she can take Wash, he can take Serenity, It can take Stolen goods
bonus if you have Simon, He can take River

Our Mistake when playing: All cards are active for the person that played the card... so if a Play one is in effect, the player plays the "Play 4" card, they now get to play 3 more cards... we thought they did not get active until the persons next turn

Firefly Yatzee  (****)

First, I am not a fan of Yatzee, it takes to long to play and I lose interest after 10 rolls

So here it is, I bought this because the rendering of the Firefly is pretty good.. not outstanding
I am really into dice and these are ok, would have been better with engraving the image but at least they are not stickers. I like the orange color for the dice, but  Yellow Dice would be preferred

The Scoring pad is tiny, so I recommend that you can it and print it on larger paper... 

Gameplay: Using the Ship for the dice cup is cumbersome, just roll the dice in a cup or your hand, that will speed up play

Serenity Adult Coloring Book (*****)

I bought this for my 11 years old Browncoat... I have to say for every page that is great, there is one that is not very good... I like the Quotes on the pages opposite the coloring pages and the layout is well done. The drawings with people in them are poorly done and not enough objects only pictures

Firefly, The Game 

I have not gotten this or played this yet, The reviews have been positive, so I will update this section soon

Firefly Clue

I am not too trilled about the premise of this game... River has been betrayed to the alliance and you have to figure out who, with what and where. Classic Clue elements

If I find this for a good bargain, it may be worth picking up

Firefly Monopoly  (*)

I think I am going to avoid getting this... it seems badly thought out and the placement of spaces is haphazard. Has gotten bad reviews across many sites

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What elements does it take for someone to be a good DM/Game master?

This was posted on Facebook so I thought I would provide my thoughts on what makes a good Dungeon Master or Game Master. 

I have been a Dungeon Master since I was 12 and have honed my skills over the years and have gone through the usual phases:

1: Beginner, clunky and the dungeons were all about fighting, no sense of placement, treasure was           haphazard and rolled on charts  ...
....Every game starts in a tavern

2: Me against the players - Player kills was valued and you threw random monsters at players
 ..Every game starts in a tavern

3: Monty Haul -  You now gave out tons of treasure and regularly fought gods  
..Every game starts in a tavern

4: Adventure over random dungeons - You begin to put thought into the adventure as a whole 
    ..Every game starts in a tavern

5: Building a world - you have a great handle on the rules, you now try to challenge the players rather than kill them. Death happens but it is random
..Every game starts in a tavern 

6: It is not about the combat.. you go to great lengths to drop clues and puzzles into the game. Role playing playing and interactions become just as valuable as slaying monsters
..Every game starts differently

7: Design Junkie - You have all the tools to write adventures for any level and genre. You now are comfortable running games for any group of players. People start to invite you to run games for their group 
..Every game starts Differently


SO, now for the skills needed to excel at running Dungeons and Dragons and any other Game systems

I am going to break this down into 2 areas..  Skills and Practicals

First, you have to love to read. This is the foundation above all else. If reading is not your thing, do not try to run any games

Second, the ability to soak in material, I am referring to Memory and recall... Reading is good, but if you have to go back to look up anything or read a passage a few times during the game, you bog down the game.

Watch lots of movies, does not matter what genre and time the movie was made. This especially helps in timing and suspense during the game. Knowing when and where to use these is crucial

Improvisational skills:  You will need to react and redirect as needed and plans always shift

Creativity... players want something they have not seen before... it needs to be different or appear different

Balance ... being able to use rules and set what is occurring, having a logical interpretation of the rules as needed

A Firm hand when needed, not allowing someone to be a rules lawyer if they are disrupting the flow of the game and at the same time allow creativity

From The Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st Edition

“It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. Never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, if it goes against the obvious intent of the game.... You are creator and final arbiter. 

By ordering things as they should be, the game as a whole first, your campaign next, and your participants thereafter, you will be playing ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS as it was meant to be.”


Running other games:

Know your setting:

Understand the dice rolls for the game you are playing

I have run over a dozen systems.. some have specific dice, some use only D10 or D6

They may have dice pools that are built by skills

Practicals of Play
  • Be organized
  • Bring Extra Pencils
  • Bring Extra Dice
  • Bring note pads
  • have all you notes and handouts ready and accessible
  • Separate table for Roleplaying and for miniatures
I find that if the players are on your side from the beginning, they will accept anything you throw at them or do to them. If I am running a Role Playing intense game, then I usually reserve killing for a bone headed move... 

I have no qualms about killing players, I prefer providing a tough challenge where they may be killed...Players stupidity is the leading cause of death in my games

During the Game
  • Know the Material !!!
  • Be Organized
  • Be Energized
  • Dig deep, be unique
  • Don't be afraid to try it
  • Don't Dream It, BE IT !!!!!
The more you bring the game to life, the better your players will respond. I use lots of different vocals and hand gestures... many people can attest to my horrible Jamaican accent and my equally well done other accents... 

Game flow is important, anything that stops the action or pauses for too long is not helping the players to enjoy the game

Games I have run 

Dungeons And Dragons
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st and 2nd Edition

Vampire the Masquerade

Dream Park

Dangerous Journeys

James Bond 007
Top Secret SI

DC Heroes






The Toon Commandments