Star Trek Adventures core rulebook: It’s almost here!

This is what I get for missing staff meetings.

sta-rulebookcoverYep! The print edition for the brand-spankin’ new Star Trek Adventures role playing game is up for pre-order, and shipping for the shiny new tome is imminent! The e-Book version has been available for several weeks, but I think the big intro for the hardcover print edition was the GenCon convention this past weekend in Indianapolis. Fans were able to buy copies of the book, and the reactions I’ve heard so far are leaning way over toward the positive sign of things.

Long time Star Trek fans and gamers now that this but the latest in a series of Trek-themed role playing games released over the years. My entry point to this genre was in 1983, with FASA’s still awesome Star Trek: The Role Playing Game. Later, game companies Last Unicorn and Decipher got into the act, each releasing the own versions complete with core rules and a slew of supplements and accessories. Each version has its fans, and I still have certain key books from each game that I use for reference or inspiration with my own writing, but if I had to choose one of the older games, it’d have to be FASA. That said, some of the Last Unicorn supplements in particular are pretty dang cool. 🙂

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trek_heritageNOTE: This is the point where the truly hardcore fans might remind me that there was a Star Trek RPG which preceded all of these. No, I didn’t forget about you. I actually don’t have a copy of this, published by Heritage Models in 1978, so if anyone out there wants to start thinking Christmas ideas for me, here you go.

There’s also Prime Directive, an RPG off shoot of the venerable Star Fleet Battles tabletop combat game, which was published back in the early 1990s. The entire SFB system has thrived for decades, emphasizing the tactical/military aspects of Star Trek gaming, and Prime Directive extends that into the RPG sphere. So, if that’s your thing, I highly suggest wandering over and checking out the entire line of SFB products from Amarillo Design Bureau.

As or this “next generation” of Star Trek RPGs? Modiphius has gone all out, y’all. They have a slate of supplements, dice, figures, and other nifty doodads ready to roll out, but it all starts with the core rulebook, which you can pre-order RIGHT. NOW.

Though I was involved in writing for the new game’s “living playtest campaign” last fall, I also wrote material that ended up in the new rulebook. That said, I have to emphasize that my contributions to the book are pretty minor when compared to the efforts of so many more people who had a hand in bringing this project to fruition. I mean, have a look at the credits page:

STA-credits(Click to Biggie Size.)

I know, right?

So far, all I’ve seen is the e-Book version, and THAT was gorgeous to behold. I can’t wait to see what the print edition looks like.

It’s not too late to get in on the Star Trek Adventures role playing action. Just slide on over to the Modiphius site and check out all the cool things that are there for the checking out.

Go on. Go. I’ll be here when you get back.

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Star Trek Adventures: Pre-Orders are live!

I’m a little behind the curve posting about this, but hey! This is the kind of news that only gets better the longer it’s around, amirite?

Modiphius, purveyors of cool games far and wide, kicked things up a few notches this past week in the realm of Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. In addition to the ginormous core rule book that will drive the action and fun for all involved, Modiphius is also offering several sets of miniature figures and dice as well as other accessories to enhance gameplay.

“Wait!” I can hear someone shouting from the cheap seats. “How do I get in on this?”

Hey! I’m glad you asked. Check it out:

Star Trek Adventures: Pre-Order Now Live!

There are a whole bunch of deals and bundles to be had, depending on how much disposable income you happen to have.

As for now, I’m just jazzed to be a part of something so cool. Those of you keeping score know that I worked last year with fellow Star Trek scribe Scott Pearson to develop the storyline that drove the game’s “living campaign” playtest. That storyline, along with some other material I provided, will be included in the core book, which is jammed to overflowing with the rules, tables, and other descriptive and narrative material as created by a talented bunch of writers and game developers. Many thanks to fellow word-pusher Jim Johnson for introducing me to the Modiphius crew, who in turn saw fit to bring be aboard to play for a while.

So far, early response to the playtest campaign and the game itself has largely been positive, and I know fans are champing at the bit to get their hands on the finished game materials. I know I can’t wait to see it. As stated in the Modiphius bulletin, the pre-order period is underway and goes through August, so you need to get over there if you want to be among the first to own Star Trek Adventures!

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Is this thing on? An overdue update!

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

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Yes, things have been quiet around here, lately. Sorry about that. My last couple of weeks were dominated by finishing up the manuscript for what will be my 25th novel, if the publishing gods are kind.

What can I tell you about the new book?

Um…..it’s about 97,000 words, give or take, and that’s exactly all I can tell you about it at this point. Hopefully I’ll be able to spill at least a few juicy deets soon, but until then, as Sid Hudgens might put it in L.A. Confidential, everything’s “Off the record, on the QT, and very hushhush.”

So….oh, well. 🙂

With that manuscript delivered, my attention will soon be turning to my next novel, for which an outline has been with my editor the past few weeks. I’m anxious to get started on this one because it promises to be tremendous fun. What’s it about?

Um…..it’s going to be about 50,000 words, give or take, and that’s exactly all I can tell you about it at this point. Hopefully I’ll be able to spill at least a few juicy deets soon, but until then, as Sid Hudgens might put it in L.A. Confidential, everything’s “Off the record, on the QT, and very hushhush.”

No, that’s not a temporal loop. Just the state of my writing life, at the moment.

What’s that? What can I talk about? I suppose I can give an update on things that are “Coming Soon!”

hearts-and-minds-coverFirst up, my Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Hearts and Minds is already starting to pop up in stores, ahead of its “official” publication date of next Tuesday, May 30th. It’s both a (largely) standalone TNG tale for Captain Picard and his merry band aboard the Enterprise-E as well as a loose sequel to my earlier novels From History’s Shadow and Elusive Salvation.

(You’ve all read both of those, right?)

Elsewhere, I was also happy earlier this week to find out the core rulebook and a few other tasty accessories have been finalized and approved for Star Trek Adventures, the new tabletop role-playing game coming at ya later this summer from the good folks at Modiphius. Accosta-bridge-1_origrding to the gang putting the game together, the option to pre-order these items will be available in a few weeks, and the stuff will begin shipping in late August to be in stores by September. Those of you who visit this space know I  helped contribute a storyline to drive the game’s initial, “living campaign playtest,” and that “startup” story as well as some scenarios for gaming in that setting are being packaged into the book. I also contributed some other “sidebar” material, but I have no idea what form that stuff will take. I’m as excited to see the finished book as everyone else. 🙂

predator-antho-coverCurrently, I’m tending to a few items on my “To Do List” this week, before I head out with the family for a quick vacation and then come back to get started on the new book. Chief among those To Do Items are reviewing and making any needed fixes to the copyedited manuscript for my short story “Recon,” which will be included in a forthcoming anthology, Predator: If It Bleeds edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Titan Books.

Also, I’m turning some attention and a few brain cells to the outline for an original science fiction novel concept, that I’m hoping to pitch to publishers this summer. It’s been lying dormant for a long while, owing to my focus being elsewhere, but my goal is to have the outline completed by the end of June. Keep those fingers crossed!

There are a few other things percolating, but at present they’re all rather amorphous, so I’m not going to jinx any of them by talking too much.

So, that’s what’s up with me. ‘sup with you?

 

Talking about Star Trek Adventures for MODIPHIA!

One of the more unexpected developments to come out of 2016 was my getting involved with Modiphius Entertainment and their still-gestating Star Trek Adventures role-playing game.

Hey. I have a weird job, sometimes.

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I spent a good bit of last fall working with friends Scott Pearson and Jim Johnson to carry out the task I’d been given: fleshing out a storyline that could be used as part of a “living campaign playtest,” during which the game’s rules would be run through the wringer and kinks addressed and worked out. Players would participate in this testing phase, playing through scenarios developed by the game’s designers and other contributors and offering feedback on what worked and didn’t work for them. The results of this effort will eventually find their way into the game’s core rulebook, scheduled to be released later this summer, and set the stage for many more storylines and scenarios to come within the game’s setting.

So, yeah. That sounded like some cool action to get in on.

Want to learn more about what we came up with, and how I ended up as a part of this snazzy new thing? You can read about all of that and more in the very first, minty-fresh issue of Modiphia, the “official digital magazine” of Modiphius Entertainment, which is now available in PDF form as a free download from the game publisher’s webstore.

modiphia1-cover.pngIn addition to extensive coverage of Star Trek Adventures – including a peak at the storyline we developed and an article I wrote about my own involvement – Modiphia #1 also includes new articles and content for several other games in the Modiphius stable, including Achtung! Cthulhu, Conan, and Thunderbirds.

Many thanks to Chris Birch and Sam Webb at Modiphius for inviting me into their sandbox to play for a bit. I’m honestly not sure what my level of involvement will be in the short term, as everything now is focused on the living campaign and fine-tuning the rules, scenarios, and other info that will be included in the core gaming materials. Those are tasks better left to people who know what they’re doing in those arenas.

Look for more info on Star Trek Adventures in this space, as I’m given the thumbs up to share details. Meanwhile? Get gamin’, yo.

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Interview with Priority One Podcast about Star Trek Adventures!

Yes, once again I have been yammering into a microphone while someone records it so that other people can listen to it.

I don’t get it, either.

priorityonepodcast-logoThis time, I was invited to sit down with hosts Elijah and Kenna from the Priority One Podcast to talk about Star Trek Adventures, the new tabletop role playing game coming soon from Modiphius Entertainment. While I was asked to talk about the storyline I helped develop with the able assistance of friend and fellow Trek nerd Scott Pearson, and how such writing differs from what I might do for other projects like–for example–a novel, a good bit of the discussion focused on the game itself, including its mechanics, rules, and so on.

Fortunately for everyone involved, game designer Nathan Dowdell was with me, fielding with ease every question the hosts threw at him. Nathan is heading up the game’s development team and it’s obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into creating the rules that will drive the game while at the same time appealing to hard core fans as well as gamers who might only have a casual interest in Star Trek. From what I’ve read and observed so far, he definitely knows Trek as well as game design, and I’m confident Star Trek Adventures is in good hands.

Our interview with Elijah and Kenna is but one portion of this latest episode of Priority One, which also includes a look back at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on the occasion of the film’s 25th anniversary, and the latest news and rumors from the development of the next Star Trek movie as well as next year’s new TV series, Star Trek: Discovery, and updates for the Star Trek Online game. The result?

Priority One Podcast Episode 298: The Undiscovered Country

Many thanks to Elijah, Kenna, and the Priority One team for having us on their show, and to Nathan for joining me to provide all sorts of juicy details about the game.

For more info on Star Trek Adventures, be sure to visit the Modiphius website!

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Star Trek Adventures Living Playtest launches! Guess who’s mucking about behind the scenes?

For those who may not be aware, Modiphius, a UK-based publisher with its fingers in any number of creative pots such as roleplaying games, boardgames, miniatures, novels, and all sorts of other stuff, is currently neck deep in developing Star Trek Adventures. This brand new, kick-ass role playing game where gamers participate in a constantly evolving “living campaign.” In this format, thousands of players get to take advantage of a shared setting, doing their own thing individually or as part of a team or group, with their progress tracked by the game designers/owners. With various feedback mechanisms including forums, e-mail, “mission orders” and “mission reports” and so on, players will be interacting with each other as well as the game developers, who in turn can and will use such feedback to shape new directions for the games to take.

Check it out this brand-spankin’ new press release from the good folks at Modiphius:

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STAR TREK ™ ADVENTURES LIVING PLAYTEST LAUNCHES WITH THOUSANDS OF GAMERS WORLDWIDE AND STELLAR WRITING LINE-UP LED BY NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR DAYTON WARD

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Written and Developed By Famed Star Trek Novelists and Game Designers, Players Will Make Star Trek History as the Course is Plotted for Exploration and Adventure

LONDON, ENGLAND (December 1, 2016): Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of the Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Conan, Infinity and John Carter of Mars roleplaying games, announces the missions for the Star Trek Adventures™ living campaign playtest, to develop the first official Star Trek RPG in more than a decade, are now live with more than 5,000 players and counting.

Thousands of players around the world will adventure through the Star Trek universe like never before in an epic storyline written by New York Times Bestselling Star Trek author Dayton Ward and Scott Pearson (Star Trek novellas: The More Things Change, Among the Clouds, Terra Tonight), developed by Nathan Dowdell (Black Crusade, Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Corvus Belli’s Infinity: The Roleplaying Game and Robert E Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of) and lead writer David F Chapman (Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Roleplaying Game, Conspiracy X 2.0, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG). Joining them are an interstellar line-up including writers from all previous editions of the Star Trek roleplaying game, as well as big names from across the tabletop gaming industry including:

Shawn Merwin (Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition: War of Everlasting Darkness, Halls of Undermountain, Dungeon Delve), Jim Johnson (Lord of the Rings RPG, Mage: The Awakening, Shadowrun Augmentation), Jacob Ross (Legend of the Five Rings, Mongoose Traveller, Kaigaku), Patrick Goodman (Shadowrun: Fifth Edition, Shadowrun: Street Legends, Shadowrun: Storm Front), Ross Isaacs (Line Developer Star Trek RPG (Decipher) and Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game (Last Unicorn Games), Ian Lemke (Changeling: The Dreaming, White Wolf Publishing, Earth Down), John Snead (Mindjammer: Traveller, Eclipse Phase, Star Trek Next Generation RPG Last Unicorn Games.), Dan Taylor (IDW Publishing’s Star Trek comics), Bill Maxwell (Fading Suns, Star Trek Roleplaying Game, Mage: The Awakening), Tim Beach (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Red Steel, Maztica Campaign Set, Hail the Heroes, Dungeons of Mastery, City of Delights) and Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who, 7th Sea, Victoriana)

As well as Aaron Pollyea (Battletech), Oz Mills (Fantasy AGE Bestiary, Dragon Age: Faces of Thedas), Ade Smith (Mutants and Masterminds: Atlas of Earth Prime – Northern Europe, Rogue Gallery. Fainting Goat Games: Extreme Earth), Chris Huff (Mutants & Masterminds Freedom’s Most Wanted, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 1, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 2), John Kennedy (Ninja Crusade 2E, Infinity Tabletop Roleplaying Game, Myth Board Game), Kevin Mickelson (Mask of Death, A Learning Time, A Frightful Time, A Miraculous Time), Ryan Schoon (Fragged Empire, Edara: The Steampunk Renaissance, Baby Bestiary) and Chris Huff (DC Adventures, Mutants & Masterminds, Pathfinder).

The playtest gives fans of the legendary television series and films the opportunity to contribute to the development of the game; to sit in the captain’s chair, seek out new life and new civilizations, give all they’ve got to a warp core breach, or explore their own adventures in the Star Trek universe.

The living campaign begins with playtest missions and will continue with the release of the core rulebook in the summer of 2017. The living campaign takes place in the Shackleton Expanse, an area of space vastly unexplored by both the Federation and the Klingons. Starbase 364, Narendra Station, named after the battle of Narendra III where the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C was destroyed, serves as the keep on the borderlands for excursions out into the frontier of space.

As the crews of the U.S.S. Venture, U.S.S. Bellerophon, U.S.S. Thunderchild, explore strange anomalies and discover new life while uncovering an ancient civilization and mysterious technologies, those aboard the U.S.S. Lexington will shape historical events for those very ships.

Assignments are still open for Captains and Officers to take their place aboard the bridge and make Star Trek gaming history. Further, local game shops organizing an in-store playtest group will receive starbase status with pre-order promotions for the game’s retail release. Fans attending Dragonmeet in London on Saturday will have the final chance to receive a free Captain Kirk or Captain Picard figure when they sign up for the Star Trek Adventures playtest.

To register yourself or your group online, visit www.modiphius.com/star-trek.

To register as a retailer, visit http://www.modiphius.com/retail-support.html

Under license by CBS Consumer Products, Star Trek Adventures is slated for a Summer 2017 release and the playtest crews will be listed in the Star Trek Adventures book manifest.

™ & ©2016 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

***
MEDIA CONTACT:
Jenny Bendel
jenny@jennybendel.com
206.979.2202

And, why yes….that Dayton Ward mentioned in the press release is indeed me.

I have friend and fellow word pusher Jim Johnson to thank for my involvement in the game. He had already signed on to Modiphius back in the summer, and it was he who introduced me to Chris Birch. The past couple of months have had be devoting time here and there to helping develop a core storyline for the game’s first “living playtest.” One of the things I was asked to do early on was make sure ideas for this first storyline don’t rub up against anything that’s been done previously, avoid continuity traps and pitfalls, and so on. Other friend and fellow word slinger Scott Pearson is also onboard, acting as something of a overseer of continuity and keeper of the canon as he reviews game scenarios and other materials. I’m helping him a bit on that, too, as well as continuing to write other story-related items as things move forward. It’s been a lot of fun, so far, and I can’t wait to see where things go. More on what exactly I’m doing will be revealed in an upcoming piece I wrote for e-Newsletter Modiphius soon will be publishing.

What’s cool about this game – and what drew me to contributing – is that even though we have this core story in place, things are open-ended enough that things can go wherever, whenever. Something we thought sounded good two months ago can be replaced by something we come up with based on – for example – the way a particular crew handles one of the scenarios thrown at them. So, in a lot of ways, I have pretty much no idea how the story is going to progress.

Buckle up, kids. This is going to be fun.

EDITED TO ADD: StarTrek.com also has an article about the living playtest launch!

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80s arcade goodness.

Yes, I am a child of the 80s.

Specifically, I am a teen of the 80s. All those great movies and no small amount of memorable TV, some decent music, and a lot of shitty fashion (and I mean a lot) hail from that wondrous and yet justifiably puzzling decade. Yes, you can make those same statements about other decades, but there is one thing that the 80s owns, now and forever: The Era of the Video Game Arcade.

trekarcadeWhen I was a teenager in the early to mid 80s, arcades were like Starbucks are today: everywhere. Malls and hotels, movie theaters and restaurants, or simply their own dedicated space in a strip mall or other standalone building. A decent arcade would be home to several dozen different games, and multiple models of the really new or hot titles. Tron. Gyruss. Tempest. Defender. Zaxxon. Star Wars and, of course, Star Trek, just to name a few. The sounds of electronic quest, victory and death echoed through the rooms, amplified by some of that aforementioned music of the day.

It was glorious. Screw home systems. The arcade is where epic gaming truly lived.

I have no idea how many quarters I pumped into how many video games in who knows how many arcades during the 80s. A conservative calculation leads me to think that if I’d saved that money, I probably could buy a small country by now, or at least a decent-sized island to call my own. There are still arcades today, of course, though they are but a shadow of their predecessors. Meanwhile, people like me occasionally give in to a need to relive a bit of the good old days, and so we cram our houses with stuff like arcade games when the planets align and a working model is available at a decent price. For me, that’s the Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator, which resides in one corner of my home office. One of these days, I hope to put a Tron cabinet next to that bad boy.

Oh, it’s gonna happen.

That said, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of “classic arcades” popping up here and there, with people trying to recreate that original 80s gaming flavor. Then, you have stuff like the viral marketing campaign that ramped up to the release of Tron: Legacy back in 2010, which included a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade from the original 1982 Tron film, and in which you could actually play games from the movie, such as Flynn’s own Space Paranoids.


Oh. Yeah.

(Note to self: If I win the lottery, open a kick-ass three or four-story arcade. Make it look like Flynn’s. Invite friends.)

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What started this rambling session? This morning, I was rummaging in a closet down in my home office when I spied a package which had been tucked into one corner. It had been there since we moved into the house last year, and I’d forgotten what it was. Once I picked it up, though, I knew exactly what was inside. Behold:

arcade-marquees

Plexiglas marquees like these would be installed in the top front of a game cabinet, which provided backlighting to make the artwork pop. If an arcade was properly lit–which is to say the main lights were down low–then all of the games would look just that much more awesome. Add in your music, and we’re off and running.

I’ve had these things for years. I had a Tron marquee at one point, but ended up giving that one away for some reason I now regret. Both of these things are over thirty years old, and still look great. I’m thinking I might get them mounted somehow, so that they can be backlit for the man cave.

My wife will absolutely love that. No, really. Especially if I add a Tron one. Honest.

Anybody else a child of the 80s? Got a favorite game?

Ask Dayton #98 on the G and T Show: “Game on. Again.”

Three weeks in a row we’ve managed this! We now can officially call this a “streak.”

Another Sunday means another episode of the G and T Show, with hosts Nick Minecci and Terry Lynn Shull (along with Mike Medeiros, who’s really the jam in their jelly roll), giving us the latest scoop from the various corners of the Star Trek universe. Their usual focus lies with the books and other tie-in products as well as the newest happenings from the realm of Star Trek Online, but they do pause every so often to discuss other topics such as conventions, fan film productions, and what have you.

Then there’s those few moments where everything comes to a screeching halt as Nick reads aloud the answer to the latest “Ask Dayton” query.

What did we have this week? Behold, yo:

Dear Dayton,

Did you grow up playing home game systems from Atari 2600 forward? If so, what systems did you have and what were your favorite games? What games did you drop quarter after quarter in at the arcade? Please share your gaming memories with us, your devoted fans.

Thank you, Dayton

I’m sure there’s at least one person out there who’s hearing or reading this and thinking, “Great. Dayton’s just going to use this as yet another opportunity to shamelessly throw that picture of his Star Trek arcade game in all our faces, in a bid to make us seethe with jealousy.”

Well, you’re right. I am. Here comes the boom, y’all:

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We’ve discussed my gaming habits before, but that was way, way back in February 2013. I know, it was like an eternity and a half ago, right? Now, a lesser question-taker might simply point you to that earlier response and send you on your way, but we try to go that extra mile for the G&T Show audience. Besides, this question is different enough from the original that it leaves us some wiggle room, so let’s see what happens.

As you surmised in your question, the Atari 2600 was my introduction to home video game systems, though it wasn’t even called that back in the day. Much like “Episode IV” was simply “Star Wars” at the time of its initial release, the 2600 was known by the rather unsexy moniker “Atari Video Computer System” or “VCS” for short. In retrospect, that abbreviation makes it sound a lot like a disease you might catch after banging an Okinawan hooker in some Whisper Alley whorehouse without proper armored protection and inoculation.

(And no, I don’t speak from experience on the latter topic. You’d know if I was lying about that, because my dick would’ve dropped off back in the 1980s, and my wife would’ve married that guy she met in college who probably ended up as a used car salesman in Fort Lauderdale.)

Anyway………………

Back in those days, most of the Atari games I enjoyed were versions of games I was playing at the arcades: Tron, Asteroids, Defender, Battlezone, and so on. They were fun to play with friends when you were stuck in the house on a rainy day, but the real action, of course, was at the arcades. It wasn’t until I got that state of the art home computer system, the Commodore 64, that I started to get “serious” about home gaming. When I wasn’t trying to crack NORAD’s network and engage the WOPR in a friendly game of Global Thermonuclear War, I was playing the C64 version of the Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator, among other things. Get this: The graphics in this version actually were better than the original arcade game.

So, that brings us to those meccas of 80s teen frivolity: the arcade.

By Flynn’s avatar, I’ve never even attempted to tally up the sheer number of quarters I deposited into however many games were to be found in who knows how many arcades scattered across Tampa in the early 1980s. I’m pretty sure the total dollar amount would have to rival if not surpass the gross national product of most third-world countries…combined. Tron, Star Trek, Gyruss, Spy Hunter, Tempest, Star Wars…the list goes on. FOREVER.

When I was stationed overseas in the late 80s, one of the things we would do is head into town on Okinawa and find these massive, multi-floor arcades where everything was devoted to a single game manufacturer: Sega, Konami, Namco, and so on, each one showcasing their latest and greatest in arcade awesomeness. We were playing games there that wouldn’t even make it to the States for a year or more. Holy shit, but did I drop some serious yen in those places.

My favorites from that golden age are still Tron (and its sequel, Discs of Tron), Star Trek, and Gyruss. Yes, I have the Trek game in my home office, and acquiring decent models of at least one of the others is still on my Bucket List.

You know, for those of you looking to knock out a bit of early birthday or Christmas shopping, or something.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #143 on May 18th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

Thanks again to Nick, Terry and Mike for letting me crash their party.

Dino Hunt!

What’s that? I need another quick, easy-to-play game that I can stick in my travel bag so I can play it wherever I happen to plant my butt, and I can even play it with my kids? And it has dinosaurs?

Well, behold: Dino Hunt Dice.

I came across a copy at my local comics shop the other day, when one of the store gurus saw fit to pick it out of the lineup of dice games, card games, and other related odds-and-ends situated just so along the countertops RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CASH REGISTER.

It looked intriguing, and like other, similar dice games I have in my arsenal (Zombie Dice, Martian Dice and so on), I was drawn to it because of its portability and ease of play…something that’s always fun when traveling to cons and such. It’s games like these that are fun at the hotel bar after a long day of con activities, right?

Comic shop guru dangled it before my face, and though it took me an extra couple of days to pull the trigger, I finally caved.

What’s that? Worried it might have too many moving parts? Well, here…allow me to ease your uncertainty:

Pretty much it, folks. Here’s the deal: The game consists of ten dice–5 green, 3 yellow, and 2 red. Each of the dice has different pictures of dinosaurs, dinosaur footprints (for stomping), and leaves (to signify a forest or jungle). The green dice have more dinosaurs, the yellow dice are split between dinosaurs, footprints, and leaves, and the red have more footprints. The idea is pretty straightforward: You and your fellow players are dinosaur hunters. You blind-draw three dice from the cup and roll ’em, setting aside any dinosaurs and footprints.

Leaves mean the dinosaur you were “hunting” got away. You take any of those from your roll and add however many you need to roll three dice, and repeat the process. Your job is to collect as many dinosaurs for your “zoo” without getting stomped three times. You can stop after a roll and count up your dinosaurs, or risk losing anything you get during a given round and getting hit by a total of three dinosaur stomps. If you get three of those, you forfeit the dinosaurs you collected for that round. The first dinosaur hunter to reach 20 dinosaurs by the end of a round is the winner. The whole game takes…at most…five minutes or so to play.

Boom. That’s it.

Like its Zombie and Martian siblings/cousins, Dino Hunt is pretty addictive, particularly once the kids get into it and want to play. Its setup and gameplay is virtually identical to Zombie Dice, and I prefer it for playing with the kids because getting stomped by a dinosaur to end a player’s turn seems cooler to the toddlers than being a zombie and getting a shotgun blast to the face.

Your mileage may vary.

There’s also a free iPhone app version of the game, for those who might be interested. Like the similar app for Zombie Dice, it’s all right, but the actual game is more fun.

At right around $10, this is a nice companion to the other dice games I’ve mentioned. Look for it at the Steve Jackson Games website, Amazon.com, and comic and games shops.

Don’t get stomped, yo.

Play these games. Felicia Day said so.

Felicia Day is telling us to play games.

Good enough for me.

What’s that? Context? Fine.

A month or so ago, I babbled a bit about the approaching first-ever International TableTop Day, a new geeky grassroots movement started by Wil Wheaton with the goal of encouraging families and friends to get together, face to face, and have fun in that format, rather than texting or chat rooms…and what better way to do that than while gathered around a table playing an awesome game? On top of the table. A tabletop game, if you will.

Sounds like a plan!

The first International Tabletop Day is this Saturday, March 30th. Comic and games shops, community centers, and other venues are planning to host events tying into the theme, and many more folks are having their own private events at home. My local comic and gaming shop is hosting an event, and I’m hoping to get over there and see what’s what. I was just there today, and they had a new dice game that’s calling to me. Damn.

In the runup to Saturday, geek goddess Felicia Day (The Guild) and her merry band over at Geek and Sundry have prepared a list of ten fine game suggestions in the event we’re having trouble deciding what to play. There’s also an interview with Felicia, in which she talks about the event, Wheaton’s popular webseries TableTop, and her renewed interest in board games..including some thoughts on how they stack up against video games and maybe even edge them out a bit:

“I was never a huge board game player before TableTop, but the complexity of the games, the beautiful design, and the event of inviting friends over, ordering food, enjoying each others’ company in real life is a huge tangible reward in a world where we generally keep up with the people in our lives through status updates online. Video games add a whole other layer of immersion, but board games give you that personal connection.”

Word.

And so now that we’re all properly motivated, here’s the list:

Los Angeles Times/Hero Complex – 10 Board Games for TableTop Day: Felicia Day’s team wants you to play

I have to admit…I’ve not played any of the games listed here. Yet.

Sorry, Felicia.

“Awkward.”

But I’m gonna try at least a couple, all right? Ticket to Ride and Smash Up in particular look interesting. And maybe Star Wars: X-Wing. I know my local comic shop has that last one, and I’m sure they have most if not all of the others, because they’re awesome that way.

So, get out there and play some games on Saturday. Then, invite your friends over to your place and do it some more. Game on, yo.