Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes: First Impressions

Chris once again kindly (See what I did there) deliverers a very good overview of what Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is all about. He covers all the points and highlights the cool stuff.

The Kind GM

Let’s take a quick look at Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

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Disconnected

There are so many reasons why I still gather a group of friends around a table and play games.  It’s a way to socialize in a way some people have forgotten.  Interacting in collective story telling forests my relationships with so many of my friends that other activities miss.

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I feel that everyone in their lifetime has some sort of mystical revelation that happens to them.  Either it be the moment you realize that your parents were right or you reach that crossroad in life and finally understand what Robert Frosts “A Road not Taken” was all about.  Mine came sitting on what we call in my home small couch.  I was blasting through some nameless social media site on my handheld computer which can also double as a mobile telecommunication device when a cartoon link came up.  Having a broad sense of humor, I can never resist a good cartoon.  This satirical single framed piece of imagery pictured a family of four.  It was the typical million-dollar family with a mom and a dad with two kids, a boy and a girl sitting around the living room with smiles of synergy that radiated on the mini viewing screen.   The whole scene in the frame was beginning to play out like an old Family Circus Cartoon created by Bil Keane.  The youngest boy, looking close to the preteen age sat on the large family sized couch holding a computer gaming controller and looking intensely at the unseen television. Next to him was the mother, like any average mother could be reading off some computer tablet, eyes fixed on the screen while her presumable teenage daughter curled up beside her was typing feverishly into her mobile telecommunication device.  The father, like some sort of late 1950’s portrait was sitting in the comfy chair staring blankly at the scene around him.   The thought bubble from the father reading something like “It’s this nice that we can spend some family time together”.   I quickly slammed on the brakes to my social media juggernaut and put the mobile device down to survey the environment around me.  “Great Scott!” my living room looked like the cartoon.    My life had become a cartoon, and presently not a very funny one.

Now if you think this is going to be about one father’s crusade to bring his family together and save them from the evil clutches of the ruthless internet of destruction you are wrong.    The internet wasn’t evil, though some of you, having being lured by its majestic Sirens call over and over again might disagree.  The problem lies in each of us that has allowed the internet, social media and all sort of electronic gadgets rule over us.  We have become slaves to our electronics and mobile devices.  The only thing missing is Big Brother watching over us which is another topic for debate will shall leave for another time.

The easy answer to the problem is just put the devices down.  Are you kidding me?  Might as well take away my morning coffee at the same time because if I cannot check to see if I got a response to my 140-character post I just sent 2 minutes ago, someone will surely perish in a fit of unparalleled rage.  Now you’ll have to excuse me and wait a second so I can take a selfie of that.   I don’t feel my satirical outburst are that far from the truth when we really take a look around us.  These roses smell nasty.

How can you prove this inconceivable claim that our fundamental way of life changed, and how we interact with our friends and family has made us slaves to an insufficient piece of equipment we keep in our pocket?  If you think this is rather preposterous I suggest a trip to a place known in myth as a haven for mobile computing devices.  You can journey past the 42 rows of houses and through the village square to locate this temple of discovery.   There you might find a free-standing structure with a green hue that serves cups of rejuvenating liquid to keep you awake while you stream millions of data packets on their holy free Wi-Fi.  Seriously, take a trip to your local exclusive coffee shop and count how many people have their little devices out and at the ready.   While you are there you might want to take a picture of that glorious cup of goodness and use the free Wi-Fi to send it to all your friends and show them how awesome a time you are having sitting alone with your mobile computer.   You can make yourself believe you are not really alone because you are instantly connected electronically to everyone you know and millions of people you don’t know.  It is truly incredible how it feels to be surrounded virtually by so many humans and never really engage with them one on one.

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It wasn’t too long ago that checking your mail meant having to physically go outside and check in a metal or wooden box.  Oh, but there was catch to that.  You could only do it once a day and never on a weekend.  We lived in barbaric times back then.  The horror of not being able to check for a response to your lovely letter about your recent trip to the store written to that lovely mother in law for more than 10 minutes must have been outlandish.

This is not going to be an intervention where I suggest you give you mobile device to a friend and check yourself into your nearest addiction center.  This is more of a group of stories of how to reconnect to friends and more importantly your family on a personal level.   You will still be able to keep your electronics and mobile devices at the ready but perhaps learn that putting them down or shutting them off is OK and will bring some amazing results.

Now before you continue I’m going to recommend that you put that device of distraction away in another room with a timer and relax for 30 minutes and read or better yet, take your phone and call a bunch of friends over to gather around a table.   Baby steps, right?

The Love Spell Potential

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Four Days

Thought this was amazingly well written and it comes from the heart of a truly wonderful person in my book. If you are in the area of Peterborough, Ontario, please looking at making this Con a must do.

Aspiring Halfling

CW: In game referrence to child loss and suicide.


It’s been four months since I began the preparations to gather a committee of individuals to collaborate in running a new Gaming Convention in my small city of Nogojiwanong (Peterborough), Ontario. It’s been four days since we publicly announced we were running the convention.

Four days.

In this time we have received countless support and love from the general population of the tabletop and gaming community. However, as I run most of the social media accounts for UnCon currently until the board is more solidified, I have received a lot of hatred, too. So much hatred and doubt and questioning and general negativity.

Why would people be negative about beginning a new, safe and inclusive convention? There is always room for more safe places to game, in my opinion, there could never be enough of them! So what’s the issue with…

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Tabletop Games for Children

Great article on what could be a missing market. Having had small children, I played a really toned down version of D&D. Almost took it right back to basic. You could an Elf/Dwarf/Hobbit/Wizard/Warrior style.

We did played a lot of Dungeon the Board game. It’s a great starter for younger kids.

There might be a market to create something that would appeal to our younger crowd.

Worldsmithing

So it’s been… Not quite a year since I posted, but close. What can I say? I got myself on a roll of a post or more every week, and then things changed. I got a full time job. Then another one. I had a baby. Did you know how much writing time having a baby cuts into? Apparently, holding a screaming, puking hobgoblin in one arm while trying to type with the other does not lend itself well to productivity.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my screaming hobgoblin. But maybe it means I’ll come back to blogging with a more manageable schedule than a board game review and RPG idea post every single week.

Actually, it was little Hob (that’s what I’m going to call him now) that made me want to come back to this blog. See, I want to be able to play games with my…

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Another day another Gatekeeper in D&D

There has been a lot talk about Gate-keeping going around, and it has been for a while. The fact that is a real thing in many forms truly makes me shudder.

I want to share this beautiful written article on the subject. It’s important to realize just how much those of us believe that “Everyone Is Welcome at our tables” need to make sure we open the gates and grow something that has become one amazing community.

kattulip

It’s been a while since I last wrote, but there was a ruckus in the community and you know I love a good opinion piece. So, as the latest gatekeeper war in the community simmers down, the crumpled mass of words the only sign there ever was one. People have blocked and are moving on. I’ve been thinking about the article that this person wrote to sum up their original tweets. No, I won’t share the article here, I won’t mention their name, simply because I have no interest in giving that arrogant and condescending attitude more space that it deserves. Trust me it’s easy enough to find on Twitter and probably will be for days…

However, while I was streaming last night, I think he referred to those who stream d&d as fake hipster and actors, I thought about the nonsense of his points and tried to sift through…

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Are Board Games Good For You? (An Exploration of Board Games, RPGs, and Tabletop Experiences)

This is an excellent article. Tabletop gaming in all forms can have a positive affect. One suggestion I would add is adding in a NO TECH night when you sit at the table together. For my family it has been so amazing that the kids…. yes the kids asked to add another no tech night for board games. Sitting around a table you should be engaged in the people and the game and not the virtual world of tech.

Start Your Meeples

Introduction: Are Board Games Good For You?

The video gaming world appears to be split into two. On one side of things, video games are often the centre of campaigns around suppressing the art form for reasons of ill repute. They are often called into light in the media, most notably by activists who claim the violence, drug use, and immoral behaviour expressed in some video games damages teenagers. On the other hand, video games have proven benefits including an increase in reaction time, to one study (source) claiming that playing video games daily can help increase cognitive function and grey matter development in the brain.

It is due to contrasting points of view, like the above, and studies that are not necessarily scientifically valid, that make it really difficult for anyone to argue whether video games are good for you or not. Like most things, it comes…

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Twilight Imperium: First Impressions – Diplomacy and Death Stars

I cannot say enough good things about this game. Luke reviewed this on the weekend and the review is awesome. Take a peek and see if the game is right for you.

Personally I love it. It does take a day to play or a place to leave the game up, which is what we normally do.

I rank this as one the my top 10 favorite games.

Thanks Luke for the review.

JT

Start Your Meeples

At 9.30am on Saturday 3rd February 2018, we started playing Twilight Imperium for the first time. At 10.30pm on Saturday 3rd February, we finished. It is a big game.

IMG_0043-1209x1612.jpg Twilight Imperium board mid-game.

What is Twilight Imperium?

Twilight Imperium is a stellar conquest game for 3-6 players in which the players take control of a species of alien looking to find their own way in the universe. Throughout the game, they need to gain victory points through completing objectives about conquest, economy, diplomacy, or technology.

To facilitate these different types of playing experience, the game is split into a few rounds. First, you choose a tactical strategy for that game turn out of 8 special abilities – these give you the option to change how you play each round, with secondary abilities available to those who do not choose it. Next comes the actual tactical movement/building/strategising phase, in which players…

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Is Betrayal At House On The Hill a Good Game?

If you were thinking about trying something new, here is a suggestion. I’ve played a few times and although I, personally found the rules a little difficult than what is stated the game was a great group experience.

I would play it again just for the B-Movie feel of the game. I’m a huge B-Movie fan which made the game even more fun.

JT

Start Your Meeples

A few months ago, I wrote an article about whether Catan can be considered a good game or not. I tried to approach the question as mathematically as possible, comparing it to two games that everyone knew. Those were Monopoly and Chess. The conclusion was simple – yes, Catan is a good game.

In the comments section, it was actually suggested (by iplayedthegame) that another review was done, this time asking the question: Is Betrayal at House on the Hill a good game? The idea being to remove all emotion from the piece and just ask the question straight up, relying on data for an answer. That was four months ago. I’m a little bit behind the ball but today we will ask that question once and for all.

Is Betrayal At House On The Hill A Good Game?

Okay, so for this we are going to…

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Ticket To Ride Strategy Tips

Some great advice on this favorite board game. We own the original and the European version and it has been a staple for board night around the house for years.

Start Your Meeples

When we talk about entry level games, there are a few that come up regularly. Four in particular, games commonly referred to by most gamers asThe Big Four, tend to adorn our shelves with monotonous regularity. Most gamers own at least one, some all four, but they tend to be the games to get most people hooked -Catan,Carcassonne,Agricola, andTicket to Ride. Those are four games that hold a warm place in our hearts, and ones that still make it out on a regular basis.

Out of the above four, the games we play most often areCatan(as I have written about quite a lot on this blog – here, here, and here) andTicket to Ride. The latter is what we are going to be talking about today as we explore a few notions of

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