Saturday, January 11, 2014

I hope you didn't miss anything!

I hope you didn't miss anything!

(a recap of the last few weeks at NJAGP)

        It's been crazy here at Not Just Another Gaming Podcast Studios this past month, and many of the things we have going on may have been overshadowed from the fact that we've been pumping out new content so much we don't have time to promote it all. So I wanted to put it all in one neat place!

Episode 41: Don't Be So Thematic

This episode released the final day of December and contains reviews of Bioshock : Infinite, Circus Train 2nd Edition, & King of Tokyo - costumes expansion. We also answer the age of question, "What trumps in purchasing a game - Theme, Mechanics, or Designer?". Our top 5 is board games that would make great movies.

Episode 42: The Episode of Brotherly LOVE

This episode is our first of 2014 and contains a game spotlight on Salmon Run. We also touch on Trains, Mansions of Madness, Via Appia, and Eldritch Horror. We talk about what geeky goodies santa brought us and the one thing he didn't. Our "Out of the Box" segment is a lot of fun. We talk about cheesesteak places and geeky places to visit in Philadelphia.

2014 Support Drive

We talk about this a bit in Episode 42 but if you visit the website, you'll see the drive all laid out including our goals, rewards, and plans for the future! We are giving away a bunch of games including Circus Train 2nd Edition, Darkest Night, ApocolypZe, and more! We're also planning to reward supporters with extra shows and dice! Please, if you only click one link on this blog, go check out our support drive!

Contest: Win a copy of Dice & Daggers

(from our current show sponsor General Nonsense Games)

All we ask is that you like GNG on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Then to enter the contest, just tweet or post on their page (NJAGP SENT ME!). For further information on this you can also visit our website. For links to their pages... (or @GNonsenseGames)

7 Card Slugfest Review & Grumpy Gamer

As if that wasn't enough, I just posted a written review of Level 99 Games - 7 Card Slugfest on the website and another blog post about me becoming a Grumpy Gamer.

 Give Us a "heart" on Board game links

This is a website that has been floating around for the past month or so that we have no idea if it will have staying power or if it will even be used that much by the gaming community, but we have asked several times if you would please take 7 seconds to go over and give us some love. (Click the heart next to our name) (We're currently around #50)

Facebook / Twitter / BGG Guild

We have so many social media outlets that even I can't keep up! But depending on where you're finding this post, don't forget that we are constantly posting to all three of the places. (And we try really hard not to duplicate content!) So if you use these sites at all, come join us there!

I'm hoping to do this every so often. Let me know what you think and if it is helpful / useful. Most of all, Thanks to all of you, our wonderful community of listeners!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rise of a Grumpy Gamer?


   I really don't consider myself a grumpy gamer. In fact, I believe I have been accommodating, patient, and considerate far past most peoples breaking points with regards to gaming situations. At least this is how I felt until a few nights ago. When I realized, there is a grumpy side to my gamer self. And I'm wondering, am I alone in this? Is this something that has risen out of my tenure in gaming? Is it because my game time has been limited.

Then I do remember back to a few explosions I have had in the past. A fantastic tale about a table with a fully set up Shadows Over Camelot game being flipped up come to mind. But those were rare moments. Right?

Recently I've noticed I have become much more picky about who I want to game with. I've become selective on who I want to play specific games with too. Now granted, this is based on the growing number of people I game with. I know who would enjoy heavier strategy games and who wouldn't. I know who is best to get together with when playing 2 player games. I know who to call up when I'm planning a larger party style get together and who wouldn't like to attend that type of game day. But I still don't remember being this since the beginning. (Which was about 2004)

But where I really feel like my "grumpy gamer" has come to full incarnation, is when it comes to playing longer thematic story driven games. Yes, one of the type of games that I love! This is also fueled if the game is cooperative, which many in this style are.

Some examples are games like Arkham Horror, Eldtritch Horror, Battlestar Gallactica, Mansions of Madness, Tales of the Arabian Knights, Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island, ect ect.

These games are immersive. They rely heavily on a thematic story unfolding onto the table. They're awesome!

Sometimes, when you play these games, not every player may feel as strongly about them as you do. Not every player will want to engage in the unfolding arc. Not every player will stay focused during a round of, especially if it's not "there turn". And here lies the problem. When this happens, I find myself loosing enjoyment in the game. I get upset, angry even. I get GRUMPY!

I try. I do. I try to help engage those players who would rather be talking about where they went to diner the previous night, or discuss the latest episode of Dr.Who in immense detail rather than pay attention to what is developing on the table. I politely remind them it's their turn, I calmly re-explain to them events that have just happened, and I generously offer to tell them why the board looks different since their last turn (meaning all the moves from the players and the game they missed while chatting about their latest trip to the mall - that's for you ladies)

I really dislike being a part of a gaming experience like this. I want to avoid it. I want to avoid people who I know are going to do this. I don't want to be grumpy, but it is me being a grumpy gamer. I doubt that this will end. How can it? It is how I feel. I want my game experience to be a certain way, and that's that. I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm also sure this resonates to many other facets of life as well, but for me, I feel, it is just one step closer to becoming a grumpy gamer.

I'd like to know who else is in this tribe with me. Also, is there a cure (or at least a sedative)?

Friday, August 16, 2013

D&D at gen Con 2013 (news, events, and panels)

A Night with D&D
Kicking off the show with a bang, the official Sundering launch party took place last night, filled with plenty of announcements and product reveals. Travelers from across Faerûn were invited to spend the evening in Baldur’s Gate at this one-of-a-kind event where guests mingled with D&D designers, authors, and other industry luminaries while enjoying food, drinks, music, adventure and more. New reveals at an invite-only press reception beforehand included:
Lords of Waterdeep Announced for iPad
Highlighting digital offerings recently released as well as upcoming partnerships, Laura Tommervik, Brand Manager, Dungeons & Dragons, also revealed the franchises’ first iPad game - Lords of Waterdeep!  The award-winning and critically acclaimed board game from Wizards of the Coast will make its digital debut in a high-quality, faithful adaptation from Playdek Games. Designed for 2-5 players, the game will offer offline play against others or computer opponents or online asynchronously or in real time.
D&D KRE-O Figures Unveiled
The first KRE-O Dungeons & Dragons figures were unveiled! Recently announced at Comic-Con International last month, the new line of D&D themed building sets from Hasbro will launch in January 2014.
D&D Next Playtest Dated
Mike Mearls, Senior Manager, Dungeons & Dragons R&D, provided a hotly-anticipated update of the status of D&D Next, the latest installment of game play rules for D&D. Fans worldwide have been helping to create this new set of rules by participating in playtests and sharing results with the D&D developers. Mearls today announced the final packet distribution, thus concluding the D&D Next Playtest. Mearls also announced, to resounding applause and loud cheers, the highly-awaited launch timeframe for D&D Next.
The Sundering
Acclaimed New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore took the stage for an in-depth discussion on the Sundering, an event that will reshape the face of the popular Forgotten Realms setting in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.        
In addition, an overview of activities taking place this weekend includes:
D&D Gaming Hall Activities (All Weekend)
Encounters Launch Event Weekend – Murder in Baldur’s Gate
A brand new season of Encounters launches at Gen Con with Murder in Baldur’s Gate, which sends heroes catapulting into the events of the upcoming D&D Encounters 
D&D Next All-Access Adventure Pass
Players can reserve a private table and enjoy D&D Next all weekend long as they play through up to four adventures debuting at the show.  Each table will have an assigned Dungeon Master, and participants will receive limited edition Gen Con exclusives.
Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
Explore the seedy underbelly of Waterdeep in Skullport or explore the twisted dungeon corridors of Undermountain in Scoundrels of Skullport, an expansion to the Lords of Waterdeep board game launching on August 20.
Show Activities
D&D Digital: Past, Present, and Future (Friday; 2–4 PM)
D&D’s future is brighter than ever and jam-packed with awesome new digital offerings across multiple platforms. Find out what’s in store for D&D in the present and future.
A Chat with R.A. Salvatore (Friday 4–6 PM)
Sit down and chat with New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore to discuss Drizzt, the Forgotten Realms, past work, and The Sundering.
Q&A with R&D (Saturday 2–4 PM; Sunday 10 AM–12 PM)
Do you have questions about D&D Next, DMing, and all things D&D? Well, we have answers. Join Mike Mearls and members of the Dungeons & Dragons team to ask questions about the current state of the game, and where it’s going.
The Fate of the Forgotten Realms (Saturday 4 – 6 PM)
Join novelists R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Troy Denning, Erin Evans, and Richard Lee Byers to discuss the Sundering, and the great stories still to be told.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

25 Greatest Comic Book Story Arcs


by: Art Clausen

(Arthur is a longtime listener and very good friend of the show. No. A friend of ours. In an older episode we talked about our top 5 favorite comic story arcs. Well, Art truly "one-up'd" us by doing his TOP 25! This list is awesome! Thanks Art, and enjoy everyone.)

25) Daredevil Guardian Devil—I haven’t read this since it came out in 1999, but I remember that I found it quite gripping. Written by Kevin Smith and drawn by Joe Quesada.

24) Amazing Spiderman Back in Black—I might be in the minority here, but I enjoyed this one. The scene where Spiderman beats down the Kingpin and promises to kill him is awesome and worth the read alone. Written by J. Michael Straczynski and published in 2007.

23) Daredevil the Devil Inside and Out—Matt is locked in Rykers with The Kingpin and Bullseye. The Punisher gets himself arrested to help him out. Fantastic! Of course, it’s Ed Brubaker taking over at the end of Bendis’ run. Originally published in 2006.

22) Ultimate Spiderman Vol. 1—the 2000 launching of Marvel’s Ultimate universe. Brian Michael Bendis nails this modernized overhaul of Spider-man’s Origin. Much of the first Spider-man movie was taken from this series. Excellent story telling and a much needed return to Spidey’s witty humor.

21) JLA vs. Avengers—the first “Epic” adventure on the list. While not a perfect story, it has many great scenes that make it well worth the read. I mean, one really wants this story to be great, perfect even….it’s not, but it does have some epic character interactions. Of course, with George Perez on the artwork, it is visually near flawless. The cover of issue four, with Superman in his torn and tattered suit, wielding both Thor’s hammer and Cap’s shield, gave me chills the first time I saw it back in 2004.
20) Justice League "A New Beginning"--no Superman, no Wonder Woman, no problem. This was flat out a fun and humorous read! I'll never forget how the facial expressions, drawn by Kevin Maguire, just stood out to me as something I had never seen before. After reading it, I read some reviews, and it had actually become famous for that. This book made me a fan of Guy Gardner. I'd hate him if he were a real person, but he makes a great antagonist. The book is worth reading for the famous Guy Gardner/Batman scene alone! Originally published in 1987, this was considered J. M. Dematteis' best work, by far, to that point and maybe his best ever.

19) Batman "Year One"--if you don't like Frank Miller, you won't like this. Published in 1987, this and The Dark Knight Returns, set the tone for all of the future "gritty" Batman stories. They were groundbreaking at the time. This is an excellent Batman origin tale, with a strong emphasis on Commissioner (Lieutenant) Gordon. David Mazzucchelli's original artwork is spot on.

18) "The Death of Superman"--Wow! Obviously very famous, it is one of the best selling comic books of all time and not just because it was published at the height of the speculation era in 1993. Actually, if alternate covers are eliminated, I'm sure it is the biggest selling comic of all time. Even without any back story, Doomsday just worked, Superman became more textured and the ending, with Lois, really connected. Unlike Cap, Big Blue went out in heroic fashion. It was an action packed, epic brawl. The return story was horrible. The return in the animated feature was much better.

17) Sam and Twitch "The Brian Michael Bendis Collection Vol. 1"--I'm not sure what prompted me to pick this up. I think someone recommended it and I should thank them. Bendis has a ridiculous catalogue of great reads (one could do a top 25 Bendis list and it would be all spectacular reads), and this could be his best. Angel Medina is also, in my humble opinion, one of the most underrated artists out there. Published in 2000, it is nine issues of grit, humor and greatness.

16) Iron Man "Extremis"--From 2005, this tale, woven by Warren Ellis, really takes Iron Man to a new level. I enjoyed Adi Granov's illustrations, but its Ellis' plot and storytelling that make this a gem. I think that many of the concepts from this arc were used in the first Iron Man movie.

15) Batman “Hush”—published in 2003; written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Jim Lee…need I say more? One of the best Batman stories ever produced, it ties in nearly every Batman villain and ally. Try to avoid any spoilers before reading.

14) “Planet Hulk”—as I’m writing this, I’m thinking that I ranked this a little high, especially since I’m also just realizing that I didn’t put V for Vendetta on the list. Planet Hulk is a great story written by Greg Pak and published in 2006. The problem is that the story’s end is really a transition into World War Hulk, which is also good, but I found the ending a letdown. It just fell flat. Planet Hulk has a great beginning, premise, story and a gut wrenching ending, but I don’t think one could end there and not be compelled to read WW Hulk, have fun for another four or five issues and then be disappointed by the ending. Still, Planet Hulk is worth the ride.

13) Superman “Red Son”—this is Mark Millar’s first appearance on the list, but I assure you it won’t be his last. Millar, like Bendis, has an ever growing and rather large collection of outstanding reads. I’ll just give you the premise and you try to tell yourself that you don’t want to read it. In this else worlds tale, Superman lands in the Ukraine instead of Smallville. He becomes the leader of the USSR and evolves into a totalitarian dictator trying to force his utopian ideal onto the world with near absolute power. Meanwhile, a somewhat charming Lex Luthor becomes leader of the USA and is hell bent on stopping Comrade Superman. The reimagining of Batman is fantastic! Just go read this gem from 2004.

12) “Marvel Civil War”—well, that was quick. Mark Millar spun this epic story that spanned the Marvel Universe in 2006. Marvel has done many multi-title crossover events since House of M, but this is the cream of that crop. The plot just worked and was written near flawlessly. It’s one of the few that didn’t fall flat in the ending, if you extend it ever so slightly to the death of Cap. Regardless, the Punisher/Spider-man and Punisher/Captain America scenes are scenes that I don’t think any reader could forget. This is an awesome fun read, even with the slightly flat issue 7 ending. If you read on into the death of Captain America, it is a more complete story.

11) “Kick Ass”—LOL, three Millar stories in a row! You’ve probably seen the movie, but you should read the comic. Yes, it is over the top in many ways, especially violence, but that is part of the charm that makes it great. It’s a great plot that pokes fun at fan boys taking their comics a little too seriously. The fact that you could watch the movie trailer before the final issue came out in 2010, should tell you how obvious it was that this was going to be a hit.

10) “Secret War”—Not Secret Wars, from the mid-eighties, but Secret War the five issue mini-series that took most of 2004 and 2005 to publish. I don’t believe this was received all that well. I guess as a stand-alone story, it might have some weaknesses. For me, it was a great story containing many of my favorite characters. I won a heroclix tournament one time playing this team, which I thought was quite a feat because none of the characters had flight or telekinesis. Some complained that the art, all painted by Gabriele Dell’Otto, was too dark; I thought it was closer to flawless and one of the reasons I rate the series this high. Bendis, of course, wrote a great story and if you were reading Marvel for the next few years, you realized just how epic the story was. Awesome and worth the 21 month wait.

9) Superman/Batman “Public Enemies”—I love this arc! It has solid art work from Ed McGuinness and flawless writing from Jeph Loeb. It’s a great story, but it’s the way it is told that makes this a winner. The way Loeb presents their thoughts, and shows how they view each other, is amazing! I thought the series tailed off after this, but this arc from 2003 is a must read.

8) “The Infinity Gauntlet”—EPIC!! This was the first story I read that I enjoyed more than one of the first comics I ever read, the Reed and Sue wedding issue from 1965. This story is truly epic, and while it might not quite stand the test of time, is still very enjoyable and the definitive Thanos story. With art from George Perez and Ron Lim, writing from Jim Starlin and such an awesome plot that spans the Marvel universe, is there any doubt that this six issue series from 1991 is awesome! This is an absolute must read of any Marvel comic fan.

7) “Books of Doom”—OK, I have to raise a bias alert. I believe that most often a good villain is what makes a great comic and Dr. Doom is the absolute king of villains. That is why he is, by far, my favorite character. That being said, I still can’t see my bias in this being one of the great comic stories of all time. If you ever wanted to understand Doom, this is the series for you. Books of Doom are an origin story of Doom written by Ed Brubaker and published in 2006. Great twist at the end. Whether a fan of Dr. Doom, or not, I highly recommend this series.

6) “Supreme Power: Nighthawk”—I only know of one other person who read this and I think they had the same response I did. Wow! That was fun! Written by Daniel Way and published in 2005, this is the Batman story that DC will NEVER publish, but you have always wanted to read. Trust me, just read it.

5) Batman "The Dark Knight Returns"--the best Batman story ever! This is the one that broke the mold forever. Published in 1986 it was cutting edge for the comic genre in general, but it really took the image people still had in their heads of the campy Adam West television Batman pummeled it, stepped on it and burned it. Writer and artist Frank Miller set the story in a future Gotham, that is more crime riddled than ever, where Batman, in his fifties, has been in retirement for sometime. The story and setting is dirty and gritty. Batman is dark, obsessed and unsure of his physical self. Of course, his showdown with Superman is one for the ages. This was a completely new and inventive look at Batman and a must read!

4) "Wanted"--more Millar! This book is over the top and for mature readers only. The movie, although half decent, has almost nothing to do with the comic book. The comic is a great concept and well executed. It is just a fun guilty pleasure. The majority of the story takes place in a hidden world where super-villains killed all of the superheroes and took over the world. It really is as brilliant as it is offensive and it will probably be the first one of these trades that I read as soon as I’m done typing this list. Originally published in 2003 with art by J. G. Jones.

3) "Kingdom Come"--a brilliant collaboration by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. An epic elseworlds tale set in the future, when most of the Justice League has retired and given way to a younger, more amoral and irresponsible generation of superheroes. The battle between Superman and Captain Marvel is fantastic. As is usually the case, Alex Ross’ artwork is flawless, spectacular and perfect for this type of production. The story is great and well woven, but in combination with the artwork, this series from 1996 is tough to top.

2) "The Watchmen"--what hasn’t been said? Alan Moore set out to show what could be done with the comic medium that couldn’t be done with either movies or books, and it was an amazing success...a masterpiece. When it was published in 1986, it was truly ground breaking. Very flawed characters, with no real hero in the book. It certainly wasn’t typical for a superhero comic in the mid-eighties. David Gibbons’ art was perfect for the book. There is so much to discover with this book. I recommend you read it, then do some research on it and read it again. Not as fun as most of the books on my list, it is nonetheless an amazing piece of work.

1) "The Ultimates 1" Vol. 1 & 2--Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch rock! Millar clearly had the big screen in mind when he wrote this. Capes and tights at their best. Everyone who saw Nick Fury revealed as Samuel L. Jackson at the end of the first Iron Man movie thought it was good. Those of us that had read the Ultimates thought it was awesome! I remember that as soon as I heard him say "I am Iron Man" from the shadows, I was giddy. It’s the amazing combination of art and storytelling that makes this the Ultimate comic read.

There you have it. You will notice that my taste leans more toward the fun and exciting and less toward the serious and revered. I will say that everyone of these stories elicited an emotional response from me somewhere in the book. Sometimes it was shock, sometimes it was a tug at my heart strings and sometimes I just laughed out loud.

Beyond the List

V for Vendetta should have been on the list and was an oversight. It would have come in at 9 and pushed Superman/Batman to number 10.

Criminal, Kraven’s Last Hunt, 300, Justice, Marvels, Loki, Emerald Twilight and most of the Sin City trades all get honorable mentions.

There are many lauded arcs, trades, series and graphic novels that I haven’t read, like Walking Dead, Y the Last Man, Storm Watch, The Authority, Astro City, Age of Apocalypse, Days of Future Past, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bone, Ex Machina, Hell Boy, Hellblazer, From Hell and many more.

There are some highly rated comics that I didn’t think were that good, like Stray Bullets, A History of Violence, Arkham Asylum, The Dark Pheonix Saga, Crisis on Infinite Earths and Killing Joke.

I’ve tried to read Bendis’ Jinx a couple of times, but both copies binding gave way and I gave up. What I did read was very good.

I read the first trades for both Invincible and Powers and they were very good. I plan on continuing with both at some point.

Finally, there are some runs that don’t fit the trade/arc label, but that are incredible comic book reads nonetheless. Two that I can’t stress enough are Brubaker’s run on Captain America from #1 through his death and the entire New X-Men run 1-46, especially the Kyle and Yost run, from 20 until the end. The latter was quite a surprise for me, but it was great! A few more would be The Boys, 100 Bullets, Sandman, Preacher and Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men.

Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker, obviously, had a strong presence on my list. I also love Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Frank Miller and Allan Moore. Beyond them Brad Meltzer, Kevin Smith, Jeph Loeb, Scott Lobdell, Dennis O’Neil, Brian Azzarello, Chris Yost, Craig Kyle, Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison are all writers that I enjoy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Game conventions are not about the games

By: Jim Reed

Confirmed: conventions are about the people not the games

Another Convention has come and went. This time, it was Total Confusion in Mansfield Mass.

We (Not Just Another Gaming Podcast) just finished recording our episode all about the convention.

I've been to well over 20 conventions now. (Not 20 different but over 20 times.)

I've said this many times in the past, and this last experience just confirms my feelings, game conventions are more about the people than the games.

Of course, I'm sure this isn't how everyone feels, but I think if you don't feel this way, you need to change your approach, because you're missing out on the good stuff.

There's so much talk and planning in the weeks leading up to a con about what games you're bringing, what games you're running, what games you're signing up for, and what games you just want to try and get to a table. There's nights spent preparing and eagerly anticipating that epic yearly game if TI3, that Flames of War mega battle, that Heroscape Tournament, or (insert your own game here)!

And when you finally play, it is epic! You might come away with one of the most unbelievable stories that the game has ever produced!

This is all part of that incredible convention experience. But just a small part.

As I look back at my most memorable moments of this last Con, I can look at plenty of awesome gaming moments I had. Some stories that will forge memories forever. But those aren't what made my weekend.

What I will cherish the most, and the sole reason I vow to return to cons that are not very easy to get to, are the times shared with people, outside of the game.

One of the absolute best times I had at this past convention was just chilling and hanging out in our room till 5am not able to sleep because we couldn't stop laughing.

Every meal was an opportunity to talk and meet new friends and catch up with old ones.

I was picked up from the airport and spent the day hanging out with a terrific friend who I had just meet at this same convention a year ago.

Whenever I had down time, I wasn't looking for a quick game, I was hanging out, talking with another friend I only see at this con.

My regrets for the weekend weren't games I missed out on playing, it was not having enough time to spend it with everyone I would have liked to spend it with.

So maybe this isn't you. Maybe you're solely about the gaming experiences, which (and this is another topic entirely) I feel is 75% based on the people playing and 20% based on the game anyway. I'll let you guess the other 5%.

But for me, game conventions will always be more about the people than the games.

Check out more blog post, reviews, and total awesomness at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pay Per Play Value

By Jim Reed

One of the greatest thrills of this hobby is the diversity in the wide spectrum of table top games. The constant barrage of new and exciting titles, expansions, and reprints means that "the cult of the new" can continue to strive and the hobby can remain fresh, exciting, and full of anticipation.

As gamers, this easily translates into a very good problem, what do I purchase out of the plethora of products that come out every month.
(You do know what a plethora is Jefe?)

The answer to this is a completely personal one that relies on individual decisions. Maybe you just buy every single game that comes out. Maybe you only buy certain companies products, or a specific game system. Maybe you buy only certain styles of games, or certain themes, or certain mechanics. Maybe it's a mixture of all the above. Maybe you buy your games based on certain theories. (Use the Jones Theory anyone?) Maybe it's just whatever you can afford at the time, how much space you have, or who the designer is.

How one persons purchase decisions are made can not be the basis of every ones collection strategy. Even if you think you have formulated the perfect unique equation, it may not be perfect for everyone.

That said, would you believe that I'm still about to tell you how I like to base my decisions? Would you believe that I've now asked four questions in this blog?

I'd like to say that this method is one of a kind but I highly doubt it is. I'd also like to say that it has some really catchy name or slogan to it, but, no.

I will start off by quoting a well known slogan that goes "Money Talks, ...... " well, lets just say that if you know it, you can fill in the rest. Let's just focus on the first part though. Another famous expression that fits my thinking is "bang for your buck!".

The best way I like to explain, is by using the term "pay per play". Am I willing to "Pay" based on an estimated number of times I am likely to play the game? Example time.

Lords of Waterdeep cost $33.00 (Cool stuff Inc. price with no shipping) I have played the game 8 times since purchasing it. I have essentially paid roughly $4.15 per play. To me, I would pay that much money to play this game. Plus, I'm fairly confident that this game will see the table many more times. It has a great Pay Per Play Value.

Take a simple quick cheap game like Jungle Speed. $14 / 38 plays = about .37 cents per play. Fantastic PPP!

Now, I bought Rune Wars just before Christmas a few years back. Retail for $88 after tax. I have played it 1 time. Do the math. Would I pay someone right now $88 to play Rune War?. I really like it, even with only 1 play, but no way!

Now there is an apparent catch to this philosophy. You need to be able to judge how often you think your purchase is going to get played. Sometimes you make good guesses and sometimes you don't (such was Rune Wars)

Also, there will be some other factors involved here an there. It could be a sentimental factor, or a purchase just to support the company (kickstarter backing).

Recently I did not purchase the Fantasy Flight Game Rex. I played this at a convention and thought it was fantastic, but I know my game group, my family, and the friends I play with. I would have a really difficult time getting it played. I may pull off a play or two but that is probably it. So the Pay Per Play value for me is probably around $20-$30. That's not a justifiable range for me. The same goes for the Mouseguard RPG. At $80, and knowing how many other rpg system I have, and how little I manage to get them played, not a good bet for me.

I'm not going to talk much on this but this line of thinking can be used in other areas of life as well including camping and outdoor gear, tools, Electronics, Video Games, and more.

So there you have it. Jim Reeds Pay Par Play Value Theory Thingy. Maybe I can call it the "Reedplay Value"!?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Game of Thrones re-read

By Jim Reed

I'm not sure how many people will be interested in this, but I at least thought it would be fun. If you have never read the series, this blog is going to contain many spoilers and not really talk about the books as a whole, but just focus on the different aspects I get from reading through the series a second time.

I first read through the first 5 "Song Of Ice and Fire Books" about four years ago. I finished book 4, A feast For Crows with about a year to wait before A Dance With Dragons released. Since then I have read through many chapter summaries but never went back and read the books page for page.

So I start again, With Ned Stark still Lord of Winterfell and Robert Baratheon King on the Iron Throne. With Viserys Targaryen still dreaming of reclaiming the realm and with Jon Snow, nothing but an out of place bastard boy.

Let's begin!

A Game Of Thrones
Pg 1 - 304

Right away the first thing to note was how much easier it was to manage and digest all of the names being slung around early in the novel.

It's not long before you get Stannis, Littlefinger, Varys, Aerys, and Rhaegars names all dropped and knowing who these people are made it a quicker, simpler read. Even having more understanding of the major characters introduced in the first few chapters helped to see the bigger picture.

I remember spending almost as much time in the Appendix of the first book than I did in the chapters.

I wasn't sure how I would handle the characters that I know their ultimate fates, (in this book mostly the party from Winterfell, and those across the narrow sea) but I seemed to absorb more of the story they were in, wanting to know more about them.

On the initial read through, characters that didn't have their own chapters just had to take a back seat. There was just too much to compute, but with characters like Robb and Theon and even Illyio and Jorah, I found myself more compelled toward them and that they were easier to read about.


I've only had one Bran dream re-read so far but I was definitely more engrossed this time around although I'm not sure why yet. His journey has been one of the most least interesting to me. Maybe I'm looking for a spark?


I knew re-reading these books that it was the histories that I was going to be the most interested in. The War of The Trident, the Tower of Joy. During the first read, all of this back story was overwhelming. I couldn't keep track of the current living characters let alone all the dead ones from the past 300 years and longer. But this time I find myself soaking it all up and eagerly awaiting the next time a characters reflects back or tells a tale. A few times even so far, like in a Sansa or Catelyn chapter, I have to fight the urge to skim ahead because I know what's going to happen in that chapter and that there is not going to be any back story. But I haven't skimmed yet!

Loren Lannister and King Mern - two name I hadn't remembered (I assume Loren is Tywins father or grandfather?) i don't remember if King Mern is mentioned anywhere else. I know the Field of Fire is mentioned and now I'll know what that battle was.


If there's one theory that is universally debated when it comes to this series it's the Jon/Lyanna/Rhegar theory. And this is where it all started. I did not pick up on this myself, but I have been paying close attention this time around. Not having read much on theories here's my view so far.

Ned tells Robert that Lyanna made him "Promise Me, Ned" as she was dying. He's saying this in regards to her being buried in the crypts of Winterfell but it's not really that clear. This promise could easily be something else.

It's stated that there were rumors about Ned returning a sword of the fallen Sir Author Dayne to his sister Ashara and that this was the woman he beds and has Jon with. When Cat ask Ned about this, he tells her "Jon is his blood and that is all she needs to know." (It could be a siblings child) He also tells her to never say that name again and makes her tell him who she heard it from. It says that name was never spoken again. Did Ned kill the person who had spread the name to warn others to stop?

Ned has obviously told Robert that Jons mother is a woman named Wylla whom he bedded just after marrying Cat. So who is , and where is Ashara and Wylla if they exist?

- It's also intriguing to see how much of a fascination Tyrion has with dragons, dating back to his childhood and his dreams of someday riding one.


It wouldn't be right if I didn't at least mention this right? However, I am NOT going to do any comparisons to the book/show. But I just want to touch on how the show is impacting my read through.

Mainly, In place of the faces and the locations that I had constructed from the details of Martins words, they have been replaced by Kit Harrington, Sean Bean, and the rest of the cast. My visions of Harrenhal and Kings Landing now envisioned just as the set designers intended.

But that's not a bad thing. In fact, I find it rather enjoyable. Now when I read the dialogue I can envision it being presented in the same great manor and voice that Peter Dinkiledge superbly presented.