Saturday, September 30, 2017

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition

*Last Updated 7/27/2018*

Welcome to Iron Seer's inaugural RPG campaign!  This is the "campaign" post and will periodically be updated.
Iron Seer: Storm King's Thunder


On the Sword Coast, betwixt Waterdeep and Daggerdale, there is a small forest called the Arden.  There, nestled along the river, is a town called Nightstone.  The ruler of Nightstone, Lady Nandar, has put a call forth to adventurers to aid with marauding goblins and entreat with hostile elves.  Our players, intrepid and bold, begin the game en route to Nightstone to meet with Lady Nandar and accept the assignments.  Mostly so they could eat.

Rulebooks & Addendums

The amount of material available for a D&D game is staggering.  We could never make a full list of everything that we'd allow in the game, so we're not going to try, but these resources will be invaluable in developing your characters.  This list contains references to material that has already been added to the campaign, and material that COULD be added to the campaign.  Feel free to go out there and dig up weird, cool stuff for your characters and pitch it to the Dungeon Master.  Chances are, I'll allow it and we'll link that material here.

  • Briar Silverleaf, Wood Elf Rogue
  • Nivesil, Lightfoot Halfling Dragon-blood Sorcerer
  • Berry Blessedhammer, Shield Dwarf Paladin of Gorm
  • Starman, Maztican Air Genasi Cleric of Eha
  • Softhands, Tiefling Barbarian
  • Ikki Popp, Maztican Air Genasi Stone Sorcerer
The miniature gallery for this adventuring party can be found here.

A post-mortem for the campaign can be found here.

Session Logs
  1. Part 1
    1. Nightstone
    2. Orc Attack
    3. Nandar Keep
    4. The Dripping Caves
    5. The Tower of Zephyros
  2. Part 2
    1. Triboar
    2. Attack on Triboar
  3. Part 3
    1. The Road to Yartar
    2. Yartar to Calling Horns
    3. Noannar's Hold to Everlund
  4. Part 4
    1. Silverymoon
    2. The Zymorven Axe
    3. Xantharl's Keep
    4. Eye of the All-Father
    5. Great Worm Cavern
    6. Return to the Eye of the All-Father
  5. Part 5
    1. Yakfolk Village
    2. Inside the Yakfolk Village
    3. Escape from Yakatraz
    4. The Mines of Ironslag
    5. Salamander on Duty
    6. Intruder Alert!
  6. Part 6
    1. Into the Maelstrom
    2. Court of the Storm Giants
  7. Part 7
    1. What to Do About Wooden Nickels
    2. Casino Night
    3. Eyes in the Sky
  8. Part 8
    1. Doom of the Desert

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Elementalist is Best

A juggler is basically just an unemployed pyrotechnician in Frostgrave.
Inspirobot knows what your hobbies are.
In my first vignette for Frostgrave, the Enchanter will take on the Elementalist for the treasures of the frozen city!  I've taken some time and assembled the warbands, begun on the terrain and patiently await new supplies to complete the projects.  Today we'll turn our eyes to the Elementalist spell list and see what makes this spellcaster the best!

Yes, I believe they are all best so get over it.

The Elementalist isn't as subtle as the Enchanter, and during my first campaign I found that they can be monstrous hand-to-hand combatants.  The havoc they can wreak isn't limited to hand-to-hand, but a flurry of Elementalist spells can really give you an edge over unprepared opponents.

The aligned schools of the Elementalist are Chronomancer, Enchanter, and Summoner.  The opposed list is Illusionist.  An interesting thing to note that though Enchanters are opposed to Chronomancers, the Elementalist draws a connection to both of those as aligned schools.

Top 8 Reasons the Elementalist is Best!
  1. Call Storm
    • A good reason not to rely on missile weapons from your soldiers.  Also a good reason not to worry about enemy missiles, if both your spellcasters Call Storm!
  2. Destructive Sphere
    • A good defensive maneuver for spellcasters, it's range makes it somewhat of a last ditch effort if you're surrounded and able to cast a spell.  Generally speaking, order to make use of the Area of Effect (3") you need to get at least two models with it.  However, since it hits friendlies as well remember to keep this in the bag until you need it.
  3. Elemental Ball
    • A powerful ranged area-of-effect spell, remember that 1.5" isn't very much.  However, the range is quite long, and with a few levels you can make this your go-to spell.
  4. Elemental Bolt
    • Against single targets, this is your best ranged attack spell bar-none.
  5. Elemental Hammer
    • This spell is dependent upon damaging your opponent in hand-to-hand, but the bonus is quite tasty and well worth it.  Depending on if you want to focus on ranged spells or hand-to-hand, consider this one as your main spell over Elemental Bolt.
  6. Elemental Shield
    • Every little bit helps, and this can mean the difference between life and death...especially if you cast it repeatedly as needed.  Together with Elemental Hammer this can make your spellcasters quite beastly if you've spent levels on their Fight score.
  7. Scatter Shot
    • While scatter shot is not as indiscriminate or powerful as Destructive Sphere, it has plenty of upshots.  The range is four times as much and it only targets enemy models, however, the attack bonus is +0.
  8. Wall
    • Your primo utility spell for controlling the flow of combat.  Get an enemy in the right spot with your Elementalists, and cut off their reinforcements!  Divert enemies away from treasure, or to your waiting soldiers!
Doff!  My Elementalist is a barbarian from the frozen north, so I can't decide if I want a fire or ice-themed warband yet.  To fit this spellcasters' savage disposition, my three initial spells will be Elemental Hammer, Elemenal Shield and Wall.  This will grant some pretty meaty combat spells, which I'll probably help along with a few from the Enchanter school (just to make his nemesis feel bad) such as Strength or Enchant Weapon!

Waiting on a box of Frostgrave Barbarians to fill out this warband with appropriately attired barbarians. Wouldn't want anyone to freeze to death before they are killed in a more spectacular fashion - even if that's just freezing to death at an incredible rate due to the spells in this list.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Enchanter is Best

A fire will forever be a girl, but it ain't a cigar.  You have to roll your own in Frostgrave.
Inspirobot wants you to acknowledge these truths.
The Enchanter is up first on my palette of wizard bands for Frostgrave, so I thought I'd take a minute and offer some thoughts on the Enchanter school.

In Frostgrave, each wizard type (of which there are ten) has a corresponding school of eight spells.  These aren't the only spells available to wizards, as all the other schools can be learned with varying levels of difficulty based on whether or not they are aligned with your school.

For the enchanter, those aligned schools are Witch, Sigilist and Elementalist.  The Chronomancer school is opposed, and the others are neutral.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the Enchanter spells...or the Top 8 Reasons the Enchanter is Best.

  1. Animate Construct
    • In my opinion, this is one of the best spells in the game.  These constructs can be used as warband members, unlike demons and most undead.  They stay with the warband until they are destroyed and you aren't limited to one per caster.  
  2. Control Construct
    • You can control enemy or NPC constructs, but only one at a time.  This doesn't interfere with your ability to control your own constructs.
  3. Embed Enchantment
    • Enchant Armor and Enchant Weapon spells can be made permanent.  Speaks for itself, really.
  4. Enchant Armor
    • Every little bit helps.
  5. Enchant Weapon
    • A little more complicated than Enchant Armor, I'd say make sure all the basic weapons in your warband are embedded before using this spell on single arrows.  Although that definitely has it's place.
  6. Grenade
    • The Enchanter's attack spell has a small Area of Effect with it.  The attack bonus is modest, but Grenade is also fairly reliable - especially after a few levels are spent on improving it.
  7. Strength
    • Another passive increase to Fight score (much like Enchant Weapon) this one is not permanent, nor is it cast on a weapon.  Another way to stack bonuses, and not unwelcome.
  8. Telekinesis
    • One of the best utility spells in the game, this is the preferred method of getting treasure out of difficult ruins, especially if they are on a higher level.  Trust me, it takes far less time.

Three of your beginning spells have to be from your own school.  For me, Animate Construct is absolutely vital, as will be seen when I reveal the warband.  However, Grenade and Telekinesis are probably more important than the other spells at first, giving me a weapon and a tool.

We'll be taking a closer look at other wizard spell lists as I get close to building that warband.  I've already got most of the models, but I'm trying to get them all painted and based at this point.  Frankly, this project will take a couple of years, but I'm in gear!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons: Iron Seer Edition

Iron Seer Dungeons & Dragons
Ah, Dungeons & Dragons.  Where to begin?  What can be said that hasn't already been said.  I could link to literature I myself have written, or republish it...but Iron Seer Gaming doesn't have time for all that.

Let's just state the facts:
  1. I like D&D.
  2. Everyone else likes D&D.
  3. It's now 5th Edition.
So, that's what we're going to play for a bit.  For RPGs, this will be my go-to ruleset for both my IRL group and any Roll20 games in the near future, barring any requests.

However, I do have plans to continue gaming with several different editions, depending on the setting.  Way too much cool 1st-3rd Edition stuff to play with yet, and I still need to check out 4th Edition.  Kick the tires, as it were...even on the older models.  We'll get to all that.

There might even be an original campaign setting in here somewhere...

Iron Seer has an RPG Blog

Without work there can be no anxieties.
Inspirobot reminds you what is important in life.
This blog records things from my games.  That's pretty much the gist of it, slick.

I've been a game master for quite some time now, almost three decades.  In this blog I'm going to share a lot of my opinions.  That's just how it is.

I like to think that I've developed a certain style, as I have been GM/DM far more than Player.  It's also not something I shy away from - in fact I probably enjoy being game master more than being a player, for the most part.  All the prep work, reading, plotting - I love it.

I've written about a lot of this stuff before, so I'm going to skip a lot of it.  Or revisit it.  We'll see what's necessary.

 Either way, I interviewed myself for this position and I was satisfied that I was qualified to be Iron Seer and talk about how to be an elf (or whatever) in a tabletop game.

Couple things though:
  1. RAW
    • One of my favorite parts of this hobby is learning the rules and watching them interact.  You can't do that if you don't play the game as closely as possible to how it is written.  Where it's not possible to discern how a rule works, a house rule will be invented - but you can count on the written word here.  We're not looking to find or create the 'perfect' ruleset according to a certain paradigm.  Nay, I say that no such thing exists.  We play all the games.
  2. Mortality Rate
    • You won't be coddled.  You might have a Fate Point, but you should probably hold on to that as long as possible.  The old games are frustratingly should harden yourself now to the idea that your character, at some point, will probably die.  Be wary - and extend that wariness to your fellow party members to your fellow party members if applicable.  No magical outside force will stop them if they decide to drive a dagger into your liver and steal your potions.
  3. High Level
    • Low levels are fun, but we'll probably breeze past them to take on greater challenges quicker than most other campaigns will.  That's because once you've been a 1st Level Fighter more than ten times it's going to get old.  You start wanting to play aaracokra wizard/cleric/barbarians and other such.
  4. Expect the Meta
    • Who cares?  Just don't read my adventure.  As long as you don't read the adventure we're running, literally WHATEVER else your character might know about the world (through novels or game books) or himself (through min/maxing) can be written off pretty easily.  That is to say, this character LIVES in this world.  So it's no big deal, and probably heightens the experience for everyone.  That's right.  I don't care if you min/max and metagame, in fact I somewhat expect it from competent players.
I'll explore each of these points in posts at a later date.  A fair number of other things, as well - including my own campaign records for official published works.  For now, I just wanted to lay out what sort of game you could expect at my table, and depicted on my blog.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Top 10 Terrain Pieces for Building Frostgrave

Please try ridiculing my Frostgrave.  Thank you.
Inspirobot wants you to feel good about yourself.
Time to plan my Frostgrave Warzone!

Ok, so let's go over it.  It's a frozen city, but most folks will already have a frozen city.  I want to make it a little bit different, but still noticeably Frostgrave.  How to accomplish this?

What about...the outskirts of the city?  More tundra, less cobblestone?  Crumbling walls of the ancient ruins, yes...but the sparse and ancient stones of a thousand years ago - a thousand years of snow, ice and weather.

The game's scenarios all call for specific types of terrain, and even specific types of monsters.  I consider the 'Bestiary' to be part of the terrain collection, since they aren't in any warband.

Frostgrave 3x3
  1. Warzone Base Mat
    • First, we need a 3'x3' table.  This time, I'm going to try a mat from a company I've not tried yet, so we'll get the Tablewar Tundra mat.  It's made of mousepad material, so it should be quite interesting.
  2. Dungeon Features
    • Bookshelves will be coming from old Heroquest boxes.  You'll have to find these on Ebay.
    • I'll be using Reaper Pillars of Good and Pillars of Evil from Bones for the columns and statues.
  3. Walls & Ruins
    • Scratch-built from a box of hobby blocks a club member dropped on me one day.  Kinda basic but I'm going to see how it turns out.
  4. The Tower
    • The stand in here will be the tower from Dragons Don't Share.  Might not be 10" tall but I really don't think it matters.
  5. Low Ruins
    • Hobby blocks glued and weathered for smaller scatter terrain.  These won't have a base like the larger walls & ruins.
  6. Glyph Discs 
    • (4) 2" Round.  Not sure what to use on these yet, but if I can't find something ready made I'll be making them from foamcore and modelling clay.
  7. Stone Huts 
    • (6) Roofless Stone huts.  There are a lot of those hobby blocks left.  If I can't find something ready made, again I'll be making these from hobby blocks and foamcore.
  8. The Mausoleum
    • 6" Building...probably use Reaper's Graveyard set, and if that's not satisfactory we'll take a look around for resin or plastic pieces that fit the bill.
  9. The Well
    • I've got two pieces here I may use.  I've got a nice piece of foam that has a nice shape, but this would be a very large well (think of the one in the film 300).
    • I also found a cool well at Hobby Lobby.  Not sure which I will go with yet.
  10. The Bestiary
    • As well as these terrain pieces, I have calculated I'll need the following models to complete the Bestiary.
      • Bear [1]
      • Boar [1]
      • Frost Giant [1]
      • Ghoul [10]
      • Giant Rat [4]
      • Ice Spider [2]
      • Ice Toad [2]
      • Skeleton [2]
      • Skeleton, Armored [12]
      • Snow Leopard [1]
      • Snow Troll [2]
      • Vampire [1]
      • Werewolf [1]
      • White Gorilla [1]
      • Wild Dog [2]
      • Wolf [2]
      • Worm [1]
      • Wraith [1]
      • Zombie [10]
This is only from the first Frostgrave volume.  I didn't include constructs or demons because I'm not sure how that's going to pan out.  Depends on the warbands, I suppose.  Probably should have at least one of each type.  That's at least three demons and three constructs, in addition to the ones for Enchanters and Summoners.

I'll be visiting all this in posts coming up, and photos will be along as well.  I've got all the tundra basing gear I'll need, but I'll probably be grabbing some snow materials from Woodland Scenics and Vallejo.  Now with all that out of the way and the course mapped, it's time to move onto the next step - warbands!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Top 8 Reasons to Start Playing Frostgrave Last Year

Don't you think that scientific discoveries can become pop songs if we step outside that little box of ours?  Into Frostgrave?
Inspirobot can lead us to total moral victory.

Yeah, it's pretty awesome.  I could leave it at that but I won't, being that I'm far too loquacious for that.  Overall though, I've had it for almost two years and I've bought every rules release so far, digital and otherwise.  The verdict is definitely in, and you should already be playing this game.

Frankly I'm shocked as to how many people don't know about this, or the fact that Osprey Wargames even exists.  To be fair though, not a lot of folk below a certain age even knows that this hobby exists, let alone be a fan of a nuanced publisher that hits almost all the wargaming buttons.

Don't be a rube.  Here are all the reasons you should already be playing Frostgrave.
  1. Frostgrave
    • A skirmish game based on the idea that wizards are crazy and go stupid places, whereby death ensues.  Take up to 10 models and search for treasure.
    • A lot of unique scenarios makes sure that the game is always different, and very seldom is it a stand up fight where we all line up to die.  Gotta get them treasures!
    • Campaign system where your wizard levels up, people die, gain magic items, build magic robots and summon demons.  Also there are zombies.
    • If you liked Mordheim and are mad no one remembers it or how to play it, Frostgrave should be right up your pipe-hole.  
  2. Frostgrave: Rise of the Lich Lord
    • The first expansion for Frostgrave pits the wizards against the Lich Lord, who's real name is Boss Hogg.  At least on my table.
    • More soldiers to hire, more scenarios to play and more ways to get killed.
    • You can be a Lich.
  3. Frostgrave: Into the Breeding Pits
    • Think ratmen under your city are cliche?  Frostgrave has gnolls.  Gnolls that were trained to fight in gladiator pits, a la bestiarii.
    • Your wizard can become a 'beastcrafter'...aka grow a gnoll head.  Or whatever.
    • Plastic Gnoll Box!
    • Underground scenarios!
    • Rules for all kinds of cool soldiers to hire, monsters to kill and how to get killed by a trap.
  4. Frostgrave: Forgotten Pacts
    • Crazy mystic rites, yo.  Get yourself a tat.
    • Summon more and better demons with True Names.
    • Eastern style warriors.  Get more Kung-Fu in your Frozen City.
    • As usual, cool soldiers, monsters and even more scenarios.
  5. Frostgrave: Folio 
    • All the web stuff that came out over the last few years, plus some extras.
    • This includes the Captain, one of the more important expansions.  Everyone needs a captain!
    • Scenarios for several different mini-campaigns.
    • Everything  you need to set up shop as an alchemist.
  6. Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives
    • Secret mission cards make the jockeying for treasure even more duplicitous.  Not to be missed.
  7. Frostgrave: Spellcaster
    • Frostgrave magazine!
    • First issue had horses and guns.  'nuff said.
  8. Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago
    • A different game with the same rules, but different setting and bent.
    • Medieval superheroes in the jungle (basically).
    • Snake-people!
Frostgrave is played on a 3x3' table most of the time, so it's rather compact in terms of collections.  I've got a warband for each wizard made up - now to paint them.  However, you'll need to make sure you've got models for all the terrain and beasts in the scenarios, which are just as important as your warband.

What can you do right now??  Check out author Joseph McCullough's blog, The Renaissance Troll.  If you're not familiar with Osprey Publishing, get that way...especially the games division.  Check out North Star Miniatures Frostgrave line.  Then tell me what wizard's warband you'll be cooking up first.

Top 6 Model Scales for Junkers

With new duty comes new music, and also new models.
Inspirobot knows what it's like to be human.
This blog is my calculus.

Today I calculate on the model scales I'm involved with.  It's not out of hand.  It's not.  Nope.

So, there are a lot of different scales, and each one of them presents a different sort of game to the general, and a different sort of experience for the collector and hobbyist as well.  I would like to think at some point I'd have games in every era for every scale...and I'm pretty well on my way.

Not something that's going to be for every hobbyist but if I can interact meaningfully with all other hobbyists then I guess it contributes to...something.

The scales of war are thus:
  • 6mm; or ~1:285
  • 10mm; N-Scale; ~1:144-160
  • 15mm; ~1:100
  • 20mm; OO-Scale;  ~1:80
  • 25mm ?;  1:64
  • 28-32mm;  O-Scale;  ~1:54
I was going to list a few examples for games above, but that would be redundant with the resources page I'm planning.  Keep an eye out for that, I'll try to make it complete as possible.

A few quick points about naval combat:
  • Star Wars: X-Wing is 1:270
  • Star Wars: Armada is roughly 1:7000 but not all models are to scale.
  • Fighting Sail is 1:1200.
The sea and space are a little different, and you kinda need to make concessions on scale here, especially regarding the truly massive units like Star Destroyers.  Just go with it.  You'll be happier.

The smaller scales are generally used for battles that involve a lot more elements than the larger scales, naturally.  The larger scales can be used to depict battles of 100 models or so, but the table starts to get really crowded.  As we explore these games on this site, we're going to notice a lot of subtleties that creep out of the woodwork depending on what scale you're playing...and notice how some things just don't matter past a certain point.

Top 3 Project Start Trees

Act impressive.  Act sociable.  Act willing.  This improves our modelling hobby.
Inspirobot reveals what it means to be alive.
So I thought I'd talk about my methodology.  After 25 or so years I stopped and took a look at my collection and realized I had done what so many others before me had...but it may have been to an extent seldom seen.  All those rulesets, all those models...all the gaming potential and a giant vault of terrain.  It's now time to put it in order...for the future.  And my sanity.

So, each project has to be broken down into manageable phases.  I like all the games, and since I've sunk so much time into this hobby already I may as well double down.  Part of this blog will help me keep track of all the projects, games and campaigns I've already got working and all of them yet to come.

So, I made up the idea of the 'Project Start Tree'.  Basically, it's just a project plan that also sort of serves as a checklist for everything I'll need to host some serious games.  There are three trees in all of my projects, and it's easily broken down into metric tons of work.  And fun.
  1. Rulesets
    • The most common project tree.  How many start gaming because they run across a rulebook?  Or have a problem with collecting rulebooks from a variety of publishers?  
    • Get a handle on the rules of said game and gather any extras you want to use during your campaigns, such as online enhancements or old magazine articles.
  2. Models
    • Sometimes you just want to collect some models.  Maybe those models don't have a dedicated ruleset, as there are tons of manufacturers who just make models for various purposes.
    • There are so many rulesets, don't be worried about not finding one.  It's as easy as searching the internet, and you'll find your people.
    • Scale is the most important issue, but basing conventions are also a concern for certain rulesets.  
    • Do your research!  Especially historical or modern gamers, some of those communities can be a little harsh if your kit isn't spot on.
    • Make sure to collect two armies for each game.  At least.  That way if you're ever in a vacuum, you can make new gamers.
  3. Terrain
    • Your table is just as important as your army.  Don't be unprepared to go all the way - you need at least two armies and a table or you are dependent upon specific other people in order to get a game on.
    • The terrain can really bring the room together.  Also the armies and narrative of the game.
    • The rules of the game should inform your terrain decisions, but also the modelling aspect.  Make sure you've got stuff meant for your basing conventions for that game.
    • Specific terrain and scatter pieces, as well as objective markers and other tokens, should be considered at this stage.  Make sure you've got a facsimile for everything you introduce.
Shoop.  So you put the three together, and you get a roadmap of the game 'instance'.  Sure other people will have different stuff.  You can play on it when they host.  However, in your place...without anything else going'll have your own WARZONE.

Top 5 Reasons I Like it Crunchy

Smart is good.

I mean, I'm trying to say to you that smarter is better.  In many cases, that doesn't mean streamlined.  Needlessly complex is another evil, and another topic all together.  Today, when I say 'Smart is Good', I mean it in relation to design philosophy.

The [Partially Completed Game Syndrome] as a business model has been foisted upon us for a long time with the big publishers.  A ruleset is completed, and it is usually very good.  However, as if they never contemplated that they would be adding to the game and that would affect how it's played, over the next few years the designers proceed to destroy the ruleset the studio has created by banging out books that reek of power-creep and one-upmanship.  Thus we are left with a ruleset that by the nature of it's production has parts that are wildly out of joint.  Then they reset with a new basic ruleset and throw everything out...and start over.

It happens all the time.  We get all sorts of excuses for this, by far the lamest is 'we didn't think about that and nao game r brokin'.  Almost every major company does this, and it's for this simple reason we are locked into the edition grind.  It's time to stomp Partially Completed Game Syndrome out of existence.

Now let me say, I don't mind new editions - when they make sense.  But we never get a really new 'edition' - a completed game, clarified and updated.  Like, say...take 7th Edition and fix the problems.  I dunno, to me that's what a new 'edition' should contain.  Now that is the new 'baseline', you dig me?  We can add new stuff, and the designers could do that by following the matrix they created when creating the game.

I heard GW explain what 'top-down' design meant and they must have learned that somewhere else.  I always thought 'top-down' design meant you started with a vision of the whole, or a 'view from the top'.  In this case, that would be what you wanted the game to be when you were finished, at the end of a publication cycle (for instance).  Then you design the game, working from the macro level to the micro level.

So you have the rules for the game and all the factions.  I just don't get it.  It's such a basic tenet of ... well, designing literally anything.  But we seem to lose our collective sense when we see plastic soldiers.

Think.  Don't just get angry.  That's Iron Seer's job.
Inspirobot is your friend.
You're going to have to have more playtesting.  Playtesting??  Is that a thing?  Oh and I know, small playtesting budgets or whatever.  All I can tell you is I have found it pretty easy to find the bugs in my games.  I hang out with power gamers bent on my humiliation and death, so that might just be something you learn.

I would like to give an internet shout-out to Dr. Lewis Pulsipher, who runs a game design channel on YouTube.  Whatever sort of game he talks about (be it tabletop or video) the tenets probably apply, and I think more game designers should take heed to several precepts that are alarmingly ignored today.

Top 10 'Need to Knows' about Game Design by Game Design Channel.

Games are not stories.  Stories evolve from the game, in my opinion.  Otherwise it's a role-playing game...a story game even?  Not that I have a problem with that.  The RPG section of this site will be it's own blog.  One does stop to think that maybe they should have said Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition actually WAS a skirmish game.

For me, the rules and scenario make the game.  Having hard rules for those will ALLOW a story to unfold on the tabletop, impartially adjudicated by the dice.  I believe this should be the general goal of war gaming systems.  I love games with solid, clear rules that encompass enough situations to allow us to use the system as a 'sandbox' for scenario resolution.

However, you do need your D&D boys and girls.  Don't neglect that either.  Take it from Dr. Pulsipher.

All I Needed to Know About Games and Game Design I Learned from D&D by Game Design Channel.

In summary, in case you can't keep up with my rambling noise, I'd like to just say the trend of streamlining complex systems because you can't figure it out is bad.  Your player base is smart.  Playtest your games, and design them as completely as you can from the beginning.

Now that doesn't mean you publish all the rules and such on launch, you can still stretch it out over the production cycle.  Just finalize the rules through the first cycle, and you can deal with other production concerns such as fluff, layout, art, models and so on in the normal flow of the cycle.  Don't wildly bolt on extra stuff as if you didn't know the Tau existed when you wrote 40k XVth Ed.

That's how you contract Partially Completed Game Syndrome, and it will plague every edition of your game for all time.

Top 10 Reasons The Iron Seer Cometh


This project should have commenced a long time ago, but what have you.

It's me, Dave Bone...professional Iron Seer.  Every so often I will transmit chaos patterns into the nether, and should you have the misfortune to stumble upon my mumblings...then you have chosen a pattern congruent with that.

On this blog I'm going to be talking all about toy soldiers.  All about them.  How to paint them (and why) and more importantly all the cool ways you can pretend they are murdering each other in horrible ways.  Sometimes you can even make someone else feel bad about it.

I'm going to talk about scales.  All of the scales, mostly 6, 10, 15, 20, 25, 28, 32 and 35mm (and their equivalents expressed in other forms / values) because that's how I roll.  I'm going to be doing different types of games, ranging from modern, historical, science fiction, fantasy and whatever else I deem necessary.

I have a giant vault of models and now I'm going to do something with them.  This will be a record of that folly, and perhaps a mindmap of any mental illnesses I may (or may not) express.  The compulsion to hoard models is not abnormal.  At least, it's not that bad.