JP On Gaming

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Over the past two months, I have been doing a number of commission work for friends.

October Works

This was made for Sarah who gave me the miniature as a challenge.

November Works

This was made for Collin to use as his shadow companion.

This was made for Kenton to use as his sorceress cohort.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blood Bowl on the PC

It was early in the 90s when I bought a second hand copy of Blood Bowl from Le Valet d’Coeur in Montreal. I paid 5 or 10$ for it, but the box had everything I needed, including additional minis. It’s been more than 15 years and I still love the game. I was very excited when I hear there was a European company that created an on-line version of the game. My major concern was that, like many of Games Workshop’s computer version of their game was that they would be similar to the game, but still very different, much like the previous Blood Bowl game (which I still own).

So I spent some time wondering about whether I should get it. And I finally did.

The reason I wrote this post is because I saw the game for sale at my local Walmart. I felt all giddy just seeing it there. It is a GREAT game. Though I am not familiar with the latest version of the game (but I was proficient enough to catch on), it’s still the Blood Bowl I fell in love. You can easily play against the computer just like you would on a table-top, which was my main concern. The graphics are fine, the game is fast enough. Some teams are very challenging to defend against.

I won’t go over all the features of the game (I haven’t tried the Real-Time Version). But it’s really great. I have been playing my Orkland Rayderz in a number of competitions and my Passing offense is still ranked at the top. I love playing Orks in Blood bowl. You can really build a team the way you like.

I have been thinking about painting up my Blood Bowl minis just because of that game.

If you don’t have it, RUN to get it! Seriously! There are Elves, Goblins, Humans and Dwarves waiting for you to maim them!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Warhammer Historical is no more

Yep, you heard me right. WH has been dissolved by Games Workshop as an entity. Late in 2009, they announced that the product line was going to be absorbed by Forgeworld. They got rid of all of WH’s personnel: Rob Broom in 2009 and his assistant earlier this year. This in itself was cause of concern, but at the time, WAB 2.0 was being promised "soon" so I assumed Forgeworld would take it over and make it great. However, having my WAB 1.0 books already, most of the supplements I wanted and few people to play with, I felt the impact of such news to be limited.

This leaves me with three questions. Does this mean the game stops producing content? Does this mean the end of Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB), my personal favorite ancient rules set? Is there a future for WAB at Forgeworld?

New Content

Seeing the silence of Forgeworld on any new WAB product, the lack of effort they put in to the brand or any products, the endless delays in releasing products. They seem to have alienated some of their top writers in Allen Curtis and Jeff Jonas by either not responding to them or simply delaying everything through slow response time.

Good thing is that the WAB online community is filled with the authors of the WAB supplements and a lot of good people. Shout out to the WABList Yahoogroup.

End of WAB?

I think GW (Forgeworld and GW are interchangeable term IMO) is killing the brand as a whole. It is stupid and makes very little sense to me, but then again who can really claim to understand GW’s reasoning? I tried and after a short trip at the asylum, I gave up and just went with the flow. Stupid is as stupid does, which pains me greatly to say because I have enjoyed GW products and games for over fifteen year by now.

They have a brand that is seen by many as quality and community-friendly, and they cut it out. Perhaps it is not making the same amount of money as their 40k or Fantasy lines, but I know of few people who hate the line. Many prefer other games, and that’s fine.

Future with Forgeworld?

Seeing how Forgeworld won’t sell through my local story (thus giving me easy access to the product), I see little future for the brand. It will die out. It may hold itself in the UK for a while, but I see its US market dying.

This one is short. Forgeworld taking over anything is like executing a death sentence. We won’t see anything new. We won’t see much support. The game is dead as far as GW is concerned.

Really the End???

If you were expecting anything new for WAB, then yes.

Oddly enough, this move comes at a time where WAB is more attractive than ever, with hard plastics are both plentiful AND affordable. Players who balked at the idea of spending hundreds to build an army may now do so at very low prices. 40$ gets you 60 hoplites! That’s like the core of a Greek Army!

What about Imperial Romans? 30$ gets you 50 of them! Call it 120$ and you have a highly versatile army. The versatility increases a thousand folds if you are willing to do a little conversion work. For the Classical period, call it 500BC to 500AD, one can model so many armies: from the legions of Rome, to Alexander’s phalanxes, to some strange hybrids like the Carthaginians, the Mithridatic war, the Jewish rebellion, the conquest of Gaul. So many choices!

Stupid is as stupid does, sir.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


Last night, I sat at my computer, watching Criminal Minds and Billy the Exterminator (waiting to re-watch Star Trek: TNG), expecting to do nothing useful. So I opened my email and there it was. An email from Adam Daigle with the stats of the monster we designed in his workshop at Neoncon (see my previous article on Neoncon here). I hastily opened it and scanned through the stats looking for changes (he did a few I really liked), read through the prose, ecology and all of the good stuff.

Okay. I DID NOT LIKE THEM. I hate them! They creep me out! Totally! I mean, I wasn't able to sleep without seeing the horror in mind nightmares. I just lurks there beyond the scope of my active perception... It waits for me to make a mistake before it grabs me. Am I wishing a duck on Adam's head for that? No.

What he did is WAY worse than that.

It was a comment so innocent yet so insidious, that only slowly and too late, does one grasp the horror of it all.

In his email, Adam challenged me (and Mike who also attended) to produce a 4e version of the monster! Yes! Me creating a 4e monster. I felt challenged! I had to respond! Honor demanded I try my hand at it! For the first time in some eleven months, I open my 4e books and rose to the challenge. My intimate knowledge of 4e is blissfully going away, but I think I came up with a creature that can be of interest to 4e players and DMs.

Thus I curse you with a chicken upon your head, Adam! Because of you I opened book I did not look at in 10 months.

Come to think of it... I could have merely said “no” and be done with it...

Come to think of it some more... Adam helped me remember why I disliked 4e so much: the mindless stats, the powers, the lack of damage, the situations that make little sense, the monsters that do not scare anyone, the conditions that suddenly stop without reason.

Thanks Adam! The exercise helped me remember why I love Pathfinder so much. Hmmm, Pathfinder...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Neoncon 2010

Where I come from

Those who know me know that I attend cons for one reason: play or run. But at this year’s Neoncon, I decided to do it differently. Instead of wall-to-wall playing/running, I would try to breathe between slots and attend a number of lecture/ seminars/ workshops with some of the gaming industry’s biggest names. People whose work I like (and sometimes dislike). People I respect. From whose experience my projects could benefit.

I will admit that though excited I did not really know what I was getting into. How would it be? Fun or boring, active or passive (on my part), did the speakers really want to impart any of that wisdom and experience I sought? From the huge lineup of names, I expected a lot.

Neoncon: Thursday

After walking around the con, I was told about Stan! Owen KC Stephens and Ed Stark’s workshop about world building. Having learned that, I quickly made my way there and took a seat. The guys proposed a framework for world creation. With each participant throwing ideas for a world they were thinking about. We worked on two different settings participants were thinking about.

What I got out of that workshop was the format of the idea pitching. Though the why was not new to me, it gave me a different perspective from some of the guys who had already done this. Frankly, if I had done this workshop before we started working on Akos, a lot of time would’ve been spent. Thanks guys!

After that, I gathered a few stragglers who trickled in and ran a play test of Opening Moves, my second Akos adventure. The feedback was positive. Although there were a number of items I have to change, some great feedback and notes came out of the play test (some flow element, some boxed text, some GM text, a few corrections on the character sheet, etc).

Neoncon: Friday

Today started with an early breakfast at the Excalibur’s buffet with fellow Venture Captain, Issak, Robyn any Jeremy. Good to put actual faces to names I’ve only seen in e-format.

With that done, I joined a table of PFS-03 Murder on the Silk Caravan where I had a lot of fun playing with my Opera Singer. After like 6 tries to play the adventure, I finally got it done.

After that, I joined a seminar by John Wick called “Hating with the haters”. Yes. It was exactly what it said on the tin. Almost every sentence or comment started with “you know what I hate?” Awesome! We discussed important topics from Tom Cruise in a L5R movie to bad games to house rules to hating on the haters themselves. While not very serious, this was extremely funny and a nice change of pace.

Then I took part in Adam Daigle “create a monster” workshop. The three participants included someone who was only conversant in 4e, someone who was very much into more freeform games (such as Gurps) and me (another aging curmudgeon gamer). You would think that such an eclectic group would have difficulty coming up a coherent monster for the Pathfinder system. However, what happened was an odd synergy of influences that created a very dynamic discussion (meaning we spent more time pitching ideas than we did on the number-crunching). The resulting monster just SCARES THE PANTS OFF ME. All of us pitched some ideas that made this monster very nasty. The monster will be featured in an upcoming post on Kobold Quarterly. I’m sure you will also get to see it as part of CreativeU’s web casts.

The one-hour discussion could very well have continued on for more, with such a dynamic team. I’m almost sad that we only designed one monster.

Adam presented the technique he uses when he designs monsters, which is both simple and very useful. He takes a sheet of paper, physically folds it in two along the short edge, creating two columns. On the right side, he brainstorms his ideas, nothing specifically system related. Things he wants to see on the monster, things that would be cool, etc. The left side, he keeps to stat-out the creature. I really like his technique, and will VERY likely steal it away.

After a quick dinner with Issak and Robyn it was more PFS. This time I played in the "Classic" (what we call Fiesta in Denver) PFS-34 Encounter at Drowning Stone. Very interesting party! We hated on each other… Actually, I hated on them through the game calling them minions and thugs.

Neoncon: Saturday

First order of the day (after shower, getting dressed, coffee, and food) was to attend Jason Buhlman’s workshops. I got to sit and chat with him a little before the seminar. While with Jason, I got to meet SRM whom I met back in ’04 or ’05 and Sean (and now, Mrs.) Reynolds and chat with them briefly.

The first seminar was about game design. A few good ideas came out as we talked about one guy’s idea. I’m curious to see if he will go forward with his idea and publish the game.

Next came the big one. Jason, Stephen and Sean offered a workshop where those present became his design team for the upcoming Ultimate Combat (Gencon-ish 2011). We worked on the ninja and samurai for Pathfinder. I can’t say much other than I now have to save up for another awesome book. Keep an eye out for it.

Next slot, I sat with Issak, Mike-A and Robyn (and Cheri) to play PFS 02-08 The Sarkorian Prophecy. It was one of those times where there really was not need for a mod. We just all had great time. Oh! And we kicked ass too!

For the evening slot, I offered to help in running Year of the Shadow Lodge. My services were immediately picked up as I managed to tag out other VCs suffering from various ailments. Since my voice projects, I also read the boxed text. I had a blast beating up on my players and giving them a hard time. Since none of them hit me over the head, I think they enjoyed their experience. It has left me with a number of ideas for running it again.

Dark points

Everything can’t be rosy and perfect… It just can’t… Two issues arose. First, the lack of fast food joints to run to when you had only 15 minutes between slots. Okay it’s not like my own fat butt will lose much by skipping a meal. Second, I could not be there for more Sunday goodness.

In the end

Wow what an awesome con. Doug Daulton and his staff run a top-notch event. If you haven’t been, you are missing out. Plain and simple. I was very lucky to attend and have really like Doug’s events (went in ’08 to a similar high-quality experience).

The seminars/ talks all added to my weekend in some way. I did receive some of the wisdom that I looked for. I returned home to a whole series of new ideas and plans to make things work.

I want to give a big thanks to Doug Daulton, the mastermind behind Neoncon and his staff. It was a tight ship they ran and something I was partially privy to (I helped here and there with errands and odds and ends). I am very glad to call Doug my friend. Thanks to Steve, Rene and all the GMs who stepped up. And of course, thanks to those who ran workshops.

Next year, I have to go back!