Dungeon Master Jam #2

Don’t forget to check out….

Dungeon Master Jam #2

Yes the gang is back and working on another awesome collection of fantastic adventures.  Enter your own or wait the Judges to pick the winners and treat your players to another amazing night of mayhem and adventure.

via Submission Rules


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Session Zero

IMG_5932If you are new or old DM/GM, there is one thing you must consider before having your players set off on adventure. It’s the underestimated session zero.

A session zero is often considered the night you bring your players together and build those new shiny characters.  These are the heroes that reside in the minds of your players.  The heroes that will set off in whatever enterprise fits their fancy.

They are the Heroes of imagination.  Swinging a sword or casting a holy light to vanquish the undead hordes that are threatening the tiny village, we gather around a table to bring the characters of fables to life.  Sometimes you are the secret Shadowrunner trying to gather vital data from a Mega Corp to help save the lives of those in the barrens, and other times, a galaxy traveling smuggler just trying to get by.

Making the session zero can be the most important and critical step in your new campaign.

It’s not just about making new characters.  It’s about discussing the hidden backgrounds to those new characters.  Your first session is establishing what are each of the players is hoping to accomplish.   This doesn’t always have to be one night and I suggest that session zero be broken into a few nights and gathering around the table with a healthy open discussion.  It’s important to let each players have that moment to talk about what they would like.

It is always my hope that each player will have a background in mind, but, I think we all know that doesn’t always happen.  I work with a lot of new players and asking for a background for a game they may not understand, much less the worlds they are about to travel through can be tough. No worries we will get to that.

Breakdown the various steps.

Step 1:

Before characters start to get created, it is extremely important to find out what types of experiences each player wants.  Have them talk between themselves and begin to take notes on what each one describes as their ultimate adventure.  After all, it’s going to be their story. Those notes are your ticket to providing each of the heroes a lifetime of memories.

Step 2:

Begin sorting out the world portion of the game.  I like to use the homebrew style worlds for the players and let them tell me what type of area they are from and include it in the new world.  I find that players who contribute to the creating of a world are more invested in it.

One word of caution is that the fastest way to turn off a player, is to say no to a character concept they might have.  This is why I let the players help in deciding the world/universe they are in.  Gives players the ability to be a greater part of the world.  No one actually cares that Tabaxi don’t live in your world, so that is why you cannot play one.  Make it their world.

Step 3:

Character creation is the easy part.  Players flip open books and begin reading or they already have a concept in mind. Walk through each character with the players.  Remind the table it doesn’t matter if they all made a smuggler.

Spend time walking them though the process and answer question clearly.  Move around the table and take with each player a bit of your time.  It’s a good idea to limit your time to 5 minutes during the creation stage before rotating to the next player.  Having everyone on the same steps as you continue to rotate your time is helpful to all.  If you have that one or a couple of players who already researched their character or even have it already prepared you can spend some more time on the newer players.   Perhaps ask one of the more experienced players with the system to also help.  This way they are involved and not sitting around waiting for everyone else.

Have each player take a bit of time out and think about what motivates that new character. Why are they out adventuring?  The deeper the background, the more you have to work with to make important parts of the campaign tailored made just for them.

Step 4:

Have the players decide how they are met and why they are in a particular place at the same time. Help them out and refer to those to super awesome notes you were taking from earlier.  You all met in a tavern gets a little cliché.


Do your best to move away from this as much as possible.  The last group of adventurers all grew up in the same wayward home for orphans but all left to find their way in the world and were called back for the wake of someone they all treasured.  It worked but let the players decide.  It could be a good time to let them roleplay those new characters.

Another example of a highly successful beginning was letting the players make their characters and didn’t let them purchase any equipment.  I told them that would be the first thing they did on game day.  I had them drugged and taken prisoner onboard a star freighter on route to sell them off as slaves.  So how did all meet was taken off the table and everyone had a great time.

Step 5:

Enjoy your newly created world and make sure that each player has their moment to shine.

One last piece of advice I can offer. Over the many years of gathering around the table of adventure, I’ve had many different types of career minded people from all walks of life.  They all come for the same reason.  To be a hero in some grand adventure.


Doug the accountant faces off against the merciless Space Ork pirates.  His energy sword glows a strange shade of aqua. At his side, laser blaster at the ready, stands Liz, the home-care nurse.   Hidden in the shadows, just out of sight of the Ork’s, lying in wait for the perfect opportunity to leap on the leader with a thin alloy cord, is Ric, the Machinist.

I GM numerous types of games and normally put the books on the table and let the players sort through them.  I explain the premise for each one and make a point of taking extra time with possible new players.   Not everyone is going to want to run across the galaxy to save the princess.

I don’t explain the rules or any of the crunchy stuff but stick to the story based items of intrigue that players will find interesting.   Let them talk among themselves and come to a decision which type of game will make them all happy to play in.

Remember it’s not all those numbers on a page, but the story behind them.