Pulp Gamer Out of Character #97 – It’s Perkarific!!

First off I want to say I really like the theme music for Out of Character.  I apologize that I have forgotten who does it, either Al Roker or J.D. Meek?, but it is great.

Now to episode 97 – Heroes & villains

The episode was built around the release of Jess Hartley’s newest supplement – Instant Antagonist.  The Selfish Succubus is the first of the series.  I like the idea of ready-made antagonists.  It’s not new but I think the implementation here is.  From what I gathered Jess has not just given us a ‘bad guy’ to use in our games but has fleshed her out with several backstories for depth AND story hooks AND recommendations for how to use her in different types of games/campaigns.  Brilliant.  This one is on the Buy List.

The episode then went on to discuss villains and heroes in your games.  One of the better ideas came from Ron.  He suggests basing your characters on characters from fiction,with modifications.  This is a neat idea and I will use it.

There was a discussion of Dark  Hersey from Fantasy Flight Games.  It is an rpg set in the Warhammer universe where you play ‘space gestapo’.  This just doesn’t appeal to me and I will most likely not play this.  However, Rogue Trader, set in the same universe, does sound interesting.  In it you play outlaws, pirates, people who buck the system, revolutionaries.  Much cooler.

Jess was the star of this show.  Not only was here product featured but she made up the new word for the episode – perkarific.  It means ultra-perky I think.  Perhaps it means really great like when you get a perk from something.

Jess, the guys may make you speak last but you’re first in our hearts.

Go Forth and Game!


Pulp Gamer Out of Character 96 – Gift Giving

I’m trying to catch up on my listening and posting.  Next up – PGOoC 96.

With the Christmas season approaching, the Pulpsters tackle giving games as gifts.  Tis a fun and relatively short OoC this time so let’s get to it.

The gang goes over several criteria for giving games not the least of which is not giving games you want but giving games the receiver may want.  This is big and hard for me.  The gifting so far has been for my kids and I have to remember that they probably will not want to play Descent or Battlestar Galactica.  I did pick up Pandemic for my birthday last month but I think I can get them to play that.  Appropriateness in theme and style of play is addressed.  These are good to remember.  You do not want to give Agricola to someone who dislikes farming.  Just because it is the BGG.com(Geekdo.com) #1 game doesn’t mean they will like it.  Likewise if they don’t like heavy games don’t go with Twilight Struggle.  Know the person you are giving to.  That was the bottom line I got from the episode.  Now let’s look at a few of the games they discussed.

Ron brought up that abstract games make great gifts for new gamers.  I agree.  With many of these types of games you do not have to worry about theme because theme is absent or thin.  Derrick mentioned Station Master.  I don’t know this one but it sounds like a winner.  Aye, Darkoverlord was brought up as a good one.  Don’t know this one either but it too sounds like fun. They mentioned Once Upon A Time as a good intro game.  I agree.  We picked it up a while back and my 7-year-old loves it.  The storytelling part of the game is really fun for him as he can go off into wild and silly adventures.

On the rpg front, several intro type games were mentioned.  D&D4e, Faery’s Tale, Prime Time Adventures,, and  A Penny For My Thoughts were talked about.  Haven’t played 4e.  I have read through Faery’s Tale and like it.  It is on the buy list.  Ron (and Veronica) mentions that he was in a Faery’s Tale game at MACE that was GMed by a 9-year-old girl.  And it was fantastic.  I’ve played PTA and it is super fantastic.  I recommend it highly.  Penny is one I want to play.  I have a friend (gamerchris) who says only good things about this.  The press and word of mouth on this is very positive.  I hope Chris will run it soon.  I had an idea of using the Penny mechanic of asking questions in Once Upon A Time.  This could be interesting.  I would add Savage Worlds and FATE based games like Spirit of The Century, to the list.  Both systems are relatively easy to learn and allow for a lot of player input.  I would recommend 3:16 – Carnage Among The Stars if you friend likes shooting things and army type stuff.

That’s all for now.

Go Forth and Game.


A Contest of sorts.

I have some freebies from Free RPG Day that I’m not going to use.  So I’ve decided to give them to you.

First up – a copy of Paranoia Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Alpha Complex.  It’s a quick start rules set for Paranoia.  It seems like fun but I’ll probably never play it.  24 pages, digest sized.

If you want it shoot me an email at tomgurg At Gmail d o t co m with a brief description of what makes you paranoid.  I’ll choose the 6 best and have a roll off for the prize.  Phase one ends January 10th.

New Games

We got 3 new games for Christmas.

Three of A Crime

Zeus On The Loose

Clue: Secrets and Spies

I’m working on full reviews of each but here is a brief summary of each.

Three Of A Crime – quick deduction game.  It’s fun. This one got the most play – 7 plays.

Zeus On The Loose – an addition game with a ‘take that’ element.  Two plays.

Clue: Secrets and Spies – NOT Clue.  This is a completely different game from trad Clue.  It’s fun but can be very lop-sided. One play.

The first two are Gamewright games.  I like this company a lot.  Of the 6 or so we own,  all but one see regular play at my house.

I also played a demo/solo/learning game of Pandemic.  I read a rule wrong so this didn’t go so well.  I will try again this week.  I have played it properly.  Someone with experience with the game explained it to us for that play.  It is an extremely fun game.

Fiasco is here.

Jason Morningstar’s newest game, Fiasco, is available as a pdf at Indie Press Revolution.  Here’s the blurb.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Fiasco is a GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with six-sided dice and no preparation. During a game you will engineer and play out stupid, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and lust. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one.

My regular group playtested an early version of the game.  Though we had a rough time with the rules, I like the game.  It allows you create  interesting premises and then find out what happens when everything goes wrong.  I haven’t played the published version and I know that this version is more streamlined and easier to understand than the version we played.  While my regular group will probably not want to play this again (but they may surprise me), I’m most likely going to pick it up.  I’m sure I can find some folks who would be interested.

By the way you should seriously check out Indie Press Revolution if you haven’t already.  A slew of fantastic games are available there and they have super fantastic customer service.

Pulp Gamer Out of Character #95 – Impact

Here’s some feedback on PGOoC95 – Impact!!!!
You mentioned more about this semi-secret project.  You implied or suggested that it is some sort of print or blog type thing.  What is it exactly?  When can you tell us?
Jason talked a bit about Prime Time Adventures.  What a great game!  You really should do a review of it so that more people can find out that they should pick it up.  PTA is a must for all role players in my opinion.  It’s a small book with a huge amount of game in it.  Go buy it now.
API – Ron tried to mention it but Jason blocked him.  I met Eloy (the designer) at MACE and I know Ron is good friends with him.  And he’s Savaging! it.  For more on Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. see my review.
GM/group planning – I used to do a huge amount of planning for my campaigns which inevitably went awry.  I have found that mid-level planning (having a general plot and NPC’s) works very well for me.  I found this out GMing our first Spirit of The Century game.  The players went off on a tangent away from my plot line.  But I rolled with it and it turned out great.  We ended up creating the Gorilla Mafia which will return when we get back to the game.
Savage Worlds news- I picked up Adamant Entertainment’s Thrilling Tales, 2nd Ed. and Savage Mars as well as two adventures for each during the anniversary sale.  All for $1 each!!!!!!!(that deserved the !’s).  These are fantastic books.  I HIGHLY recommend each.  I have been yearning for Savage Mars for some time.  I’m a big, big fan of ER Burroughs Barsoom books and am glad I have something to help me play in that world.  As a pulp fan I was also very happy to see Thrilling Tales Savaged.  I will be porting over my SOTC game to TT because of this.  We will be able to stay with one rules set (though I will be pulling Aspects over.  I actually do that in our current Savage Henford game.)  How about report on these?  Ron, maybe on Smiling Jack if not (or in addition to) here at Pulp Gamer.
Now to the real meat of the episode – THE TOMG SPOT (have to be careful how you write that).  I like having ‘my own spot’ on Out of Character.  A recent comment to Pulp Gamer mentioned me as a satellite star of the show.  I am honored by that and kinda feel like it’s true.  I’ve been giving feedback to the PG guys for over a year now.  We’ve had a real blast during that time.  They are responsible for this blog too.  Their encouragement convinced me to do it.  So blame them.
I really enjoy the echo.
Thank you Jess for the encouragement on feedback, unlike some people who seem to think I write too much.
I liked the ‘little G’ thing though I’m sure my daugher will not.
Regarding the Justinian discussion – I also like the ‘Oh, I get it.  Let’s play again.’ moment.  We played Archaeology: The Card Game (review on BGG & Go Forth is pending) where my youngest daughter had one of those moments.  I agree that this is a hallmark of a good game.

Happy very belated Birthday to Bo!  Don, you and Bo should come with Ron to MACE next year.  We could have a birthday party for the three of us.  How cool would that be.  Speaking of MACE, Ron, once again is was super meeting you and Veronica.  You are good people and I enjoyed talking with you both.  All the Savage Worlds guys were great and SSN was a blast.  I cannont believe I kept rolling snake eyes.  Timmy Whitebread, Boy Scout! would like to make another appearance.

Any word from Jeremiah?  You remember him, don’t you?  How is he and tell him tomg says hey.
That’s it.

The Spiel #91 – Annual Gift Suggestions

The Spiel posted their annual gift guide in episode 91. As usual it was extensive and fun. They do their list differently from most everyone else. Their categories are based on a person’s interest. For example they list games for people who like science fiction or animals. Very cool idea.
Of the games listed these stuck out to me:
Fauna – an interesting twist on animal trivia that seems to combine Apples To Apples and Wits and Wagers with animal trivia
Dixit – a story creation game
Roll Through The Ages – a dice based civilization building game
Formula D – a racing game
Traders of Carthage – a card game with some interesting trading mechanics
There were scores of other suggestions.
I suggest you check out that episode.

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. – Read Through Review

This is the first of what I’m calling ‘Read Through Reviews’.  These are reviews of games that, for some reason, I haven’t played yet.   At some point I may get around to them but I want to get some first impressions on them down.  First up
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. from Third Eye Games.   The designer is Eloy Lasanta.
API is a role playing game in the vein of Inspectres and Ghostbusters.  It’s really more like ‘Men In Black’ the rpg.  You play an agent of a secret organization tasked with saving the world from ‘demons’ or other dimensional monsters.  Ok, that sounds pretty cool.  The game shoots for a horror/humor combination and from my reading it will deliver this.
Here are my impressions.
  • I didn’t like the placement of the reference guide pages.  I would have liked them at the end.
  • Combat math is too much.
  • The layout of the book or maybe the organization is a bit wonky to me for some reason I can’t put my finger on.
  • It doesn’t really tell you how to play.  It assumes you know.  Some examples of play would have been super.
  • I like the cover art.  The art throughout the book is pretty good.  The illustrations of the ‘races’ and characters gave me a good idea about those characters.
  • I like the ‘In Brief” section.   The back story is good and imaginative.  Anchoring it in history is a neat idea.  It gives the story some weight and makes for some story hooks like playing past incarnations of API.
  • I like that the book jumps right into the process of creating a character.  This is what most people want to get to first and it should be at or very near the front of an rpg.
  • I like the positive and negative ‘aspects’ of Passions.  Like Aspects in FATE but just different enough to be interesting.
  • The Reference Guide is good.  It is relatively clear, understandable, and gives an idea about how the game works.
  • I like how levels and references are based on 10.  The ‘she’s a 10’ comparison to explain this was spot on and cleared it up immediately.
  • The list of Gifts and Drawbacks is extensive.  There is a lot of variety and interesting takes on clichéd ‘powers’.  And there are some unique ones as well.  I like the ‘taint’ spell.   I have not seen that one before.  That is very cool.
  • The GM section is pretty good and fairly clear.  Again, examples would have been good.
  • FATE influence is heavy which is good.  XP instead of Fate Points is a neat change and interesting.  I like that you get XP for acting within your Passion.
  • The sample characters are good and show well what a character should be like.
  • I like the target numbers ladder for conflict.  Again FATE influence with a twist.
  • I really like the Initiative Track.  That is the coolest and most unique thing that jumped out to me.  It’s a board game mechanic in a rpg.  It’s a visual reference for initiative.  Neat.
All in all the book is pretty good.  I like the MIB vibe with some Ghostbusters mixed in.  The system seems solid from the read through.  Idemoed it at MACE this year with the designer (who is a very cool guy).  The demo was a little rough but I can see some light there.  I think adding examples of play would be a huge plus.  The demo showed the system off but if I hadn’t had that I would have been lost or at least confused about how conflict was suppose to actually work.
Eloy announced that API will be getting Savaged!.  He is currently working on the conversion and I look forward to this.  My group has just begun using the Savage Worlds system and it is fantastic!  I highly recommend it.
That’s about it.
That’s about it.
Go Forth and Game,