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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Tabletop gaming thread

  1. #1

    Tabletop gaming thread

    Video games are great and all, but sometimes you want to get together with a bunch of people and toss funny shaped dice, sometimes to determine the effectiveness of your actions but mostly because the kender's player is irritating everyone again.

    So, tabletops. D&D? World of Darkness? Mouseguard? Why is the one you play the best, and all others terrible? How many dice do you own, and why do you need so many? Discuss!

    Personally, I'm a D&D 3.5 guy through and through. Yes, its balance is shot to bits. Yes, some of the rules make no sense. But with enough game mastery, it offers an unparalleled amount of options. Sadly, Pathfinder utterly failed to fix anything about it, but at least their psionics are really cool.

  2. #2
    I have an odd relationship with tabletop games. I hear a lot about them, and they always sound really interesting, but I've never actually participated in one, so I don't know if I have the right idea about them. Are the statistics usually very important, or does enjoyment hinge more on the DM's narrative? How do you even go about finding people into tabletop games? I can't say I know a single person who is.

  3. #3
    Backer kincajou's Avatar
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    Assuming we're talking about pen and paper RPG's,paranoia is definitley amongst my favourite, closely followed by capharnaum and INS/MV (yeah i'm a french/ blegian gaming addict)
    paranooia is quircky and assuming the DM is prepared can be picked up by people without any knowledge of the rules.
    I played and mastered quite a bit of D&D 3.5and its great fun but with experience i have learned that the wizard of the coast tactic is to just release expansion upon expansion untill the edition is broken then release the next one. So, yeah i gave up on d&D when my players started bringing in new manuals with game destroying rules.

    Normal tabletop games... too many to mention all of them, but here are my best;
    memorable mentions
    -ghost stories
    -dungeon twister
    -kingsburg
    -cyclades
    -settlers of catan

    dihonourable mention;
    -monopoly (all bad, all round, no redeeming features)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberly View Post
    How do you even go about finding people into tabletop games? I can't say I know a single person who is.
    -From my experience grab your friends for one evening and try something out! (you'd be surprised how many people discover themselves as board game lovers )

    Though having been through this many times...
    -if you're going to do roleplaying pick a game that doesn't require too much rule learning, at least from the player's side (Paranoia is now my choice game to introduce any person into board gaming)

    -if you're starting with some people who might be intimidated by massive rules and playing times of a pen and paper rpg i suggest building up their fun with games with some simple but fun stuff (party games like munchkin, cash and guns or BANG, should interest and entratain most casual people)

    - if the people you have are actually more willing to go into less "party-games" (though having one around as a fallback is always useful) my suggtions will go for kingsburg and settlers of catan (both games with simplerules but nice gameplay and great fun)

    Alternatively to find gaming groups you can either google your town+ boardgaming or check at some board game shops. In the uk i found most universities tend to have board game societies (but have been more comfortable converting my friends into gaming :P )

    As for game mechanics... specifically on rpgs, it really depends on what you play :P
    "...And upon that banner you write down your deeds so that you cannot forget."

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    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    D&D got me into games. Period. I just tucked my 6 year old to bed after reading him Spell of the Winter Wizard - Endless Quest Adventure...Dungeons and Dragons. If I didn't have have every second of my life consumed with making The Banner Saga I'd love to take the time to get back into table top gaming. I miss dice.

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    Backer Dark Jedi Dave's Avatar
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    I love dice, too. I loved the Artisan Dice on Kickstarter. Amazing wood dice in d6 or fudge, pledged for Jack Daniels, assorted, and Rose De Bois wood dice.

    As for tabletop games, I love Shadowrun, it's definitely my favorite. Sadly, since I moved overseas 4 years ago, I haven't found people who play them =(
    "Not all those who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

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    I adore Settlers of Catan, Arkham Horror, Rummikub, and Apples to Apples. They're my standards when it comes to a tabletop game that isn't based on a standard deck of cards.

    ~Settlers of Catan: Pretty quick set up and easy to learn/initiate others into. It moves along at a nice clip. The only con is it can make you and your loved ones feel seething rage toward one another (temporarily).

    ~Arkham Horror: Takes *quite* a while to set up and can be a bit tedious teaching others exactly how turns are supposed to go, but it's a really fun game. Actual game play can also take *quite* some time depending on the number of players and how much luck/misfortune you all happen to have. It's got a cool feel to it because even though you don't have a DM that creates custom scenarios for you, there's enough story there to make you feel like you're really participating.Nice variety of characters to choose from as well (particularly if you get ALL the expansions. coughcough).

    ~Rummikub: Just really, really fun. Quick set up, fast-paced (usually), and pretty much an all-ages sort of thing. Also, tiles that click 'n' clack are almost as fun as handfuls of dice.

    ~Apples to Apples: Super quick set up and just plain fun/funny. You get to see how quirky or literal your friends/family are. :D

    I've always wanted to give D&D a try, but I've never really known a large enough group of people into it to start up a game.

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    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    Man, I would love to introduce Kimberly to a tabletop session and welcome Arnie back to dice-rolling. If you ever find yourselves out here in Asia, I have room for guests.

    While D&D didn't get me into gaming, it did get me into imagining big. I began in the fifth grade with a battered copy of 1st Ed I found at a garage sale; the other prefects and I would gather in the backstage before morning assembly and play out a scenario as best as we could without a Dungeon Master. We really didn't understand what we were doing beyond rolling dice and beating down monsters, but it made us feel awesome. Later, I got involved with TSR as a playtester and dove in from there.

    Although I began with D&D, I haven't stayed with it. After WotC took over, it lost some of its appeal to me. Even if I don't play Pathfinder, Paizo is a much more fan-friendly company, so I side with them more than I do WotC. I tried other systems in college (Exalted, WoD, Palladium/RIFTS, Fuzion, L5R) and wrote a little during the d20 boom for independent companies. It's given me a real appreciation for the systems that underpin the joined narrative of tabletop gaming. Now, I try all sorts of independently produced games--Remnants, Mouse Guard, Parsec, Qin, TOR, Apocalypse World--and have come to appreciate the simple but robust offerings that exist outside of D&D. (I've also learned that the French are the masters of creating easy to use/hard to break systems, but that isn't surprising considering that they also make some of the best board games.) This month I'll be beginning my campaign locally using Remnants' Rapidfire System combined with a little Apocalypse World. Hoping for good things.

    Suzie, if you like Apples to Apples, you should look into a board game called 'The Resistance.' I got it recently as an alternative to the LONG Arkham Horror setup/play. Resistance is 30 minutes and a lot of fun. You won't regret it!

    And to answer Kimberly's question "Are the statistics usually very important, or does enjoyment hinge more on the DM's narrative?" That depends on your group. I find the best groups are the ones who are able to balance both, prevent their DM from narrating, and play with a sort of collaborative narrative instead.

  8. #8
    Err, to be clear, I was referring to my lack of knowledge of tabletop RPGs. I have played boardgames like Settlers of Catan, which is objectively awesome.

    As for your offer, Eberict, if I'm ever in the neighborhood I'd love to take you up on it.

  9. #9
    Backer mcloud357's Avatar
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    Who is into Arkham prostitutes I mean Horror
    you're indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. The daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split-seconds and instant replays. You are madness, Diana, virulent madness, and everything you touch dies with you. Well, not me. Not while I can still feel pleasure and pain and love.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kincajou View Post
    I played and mastered quite a bit of D&D 3.5and its great fun but with experience i have learned that the wizard of the coast tactic is to just release expansion upon expansion untill the edition is broken then release the next one. So, yeah i gave up on d&D when my players started bringing in new manuals with game destroying rules.
    The Player's Handbook was easily the most broken and unbalanced book in 3.5, at least if you don't include the ill-fated Truenamer from Tome of Magic. Most of the later expansion books served to address the spellcaster-melee imbalance, and give mundanes meaningful options that weren't "I walk up to him and full attack".

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    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    In 3.5, I found that the outcry against spellcasters depended greatly upon your group and your Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Masters with the wisdom to limit the sourcebook materials brought to the table usually experienced the imbalance less, and in my own groups, using just the core materials, melee usually had no problem matching up to and even besting spellcasters. In a straight up, twenty-paces-at-noon scenario, yes the caster has the upper hand, but an intelligent enough melee mundane with the know-how to choose his own battlefield and dictate the rules of engagement through basic cunning and guile typically sliced through the paper tiger that is a wizard or a cleric in a matter of seconds.

    Haha, even the truly impressive and scary opponents in the games we played in d20/3.5 were the other Fighters with that same determination to command the battlefield, not the spellcasters. It all boiled down to control: the one forced to react was the one who would undoubtedly lose, so it paid to do your homework and dictate the terms.

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    Backer kincajou's Avatar
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    @Suzie, if you like arkham horror i'd suggest you look at ghost stories, its one of the harders co-op games i've ever played (it took me and my group nabout five playthroughs to move from beginner to intermediate mode :P ) but it is one of those games that makes you say "no! i will NOT be beaten by stupid peices of card! Bring it on again!"

    @kimberly, catan is the game that taught me probability does not work :P

    @ebericht and flickerdart, yeah like all rpg's games usually depend very much on the dm's abilities. Currently i'm one of those DM's that prefer non combat focused games lie world of darkness, i always got really bored by D&D 3.5 edition combat... too much hotseat time
    "...And upon that banner you write down your deeds so that you cannot forget."

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    Backer Eberict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kincajou View Post
    @ebericht and flickerdart, yeah like all rpg's games usually depend very much on the dm's abilities. Currently i'm one of those DM's that prefer non combat focused games lie world of darkness, i always got really bored by D&D 3.5 edition combat... too much hotseat time
    Haha, the hotseat time problem is why I now advocate simpler rulesets. The bulk of the rules in the systems I like are still for combat, but that's also because I prefer to handle the social parts of the game through roleplaying; the recent (since 2000) push to put numbers to social aspects of roleplay get too abused by bully GMs and players unwilling to commit wholly to their characterisations. (At least in my experiences.) In combat and non-combat oriented games, though, I find that the best GMs are the ones who place the most importance on ramifications and consequences of actions both on and off the battlefield and not on tangible social rewards and loot monty hauls.

  14. #14
    Oof! I need to wait until I'm not KickStarter poor (a whole new measure of moneylessness...ness!) any more, but The Resistance & Ghost Stories look like a lot of fun.

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    Backer balnoisi's Avatar
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    as a teenager i used to play pen&paper RPGs, actually i introduced my friends into them and i was very proud of it.

    my favorite was The Call of Cthulhu, think i bought like 5 or 6 books of them. i fondly remember being mostly GM as a great pleasure.

    also owned Aquelarre, it was based on the low-medieval age in the different kingdoms that conformed Spain in the 14th century, which had christians, jews, muslims.. using a very specific and historical frame but then implementing all the magical traditions, legends, tales and mythical creatures of such rich folklore. so it was kind of a "realistic historically accurate" game with "realistic historically accurate magical creatures".

    of course i played D&D a few times, but was never into it too much. i preferred focusing on the storytelling, the atmosphere, immersion.. while every game of D&D seemed to be about slashing and throwing fireballs. too much dice throwing like it was a contest. quite boring. and i thought: "wait, i have the SNES games whenever i want that".

    with the years i started playing Live RPGs, which were great when they worked properly. you got to really play the part (your role) and investigate, or outsmart other players... (also no dice were thrown, haha). we used locations that were carefully prepared (much like film sets), costumes or clothes according to the story and all kinds of atrezzo (i think you call them "props" in english).
    sometimes they felt like improvised theatre. the boundaries between playing a game, acting, or even artistic happenings/performances were diffuse.

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    Moderator ScottMBruner's Avatar
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    I run two Pathfinder campaigns: Rise of the Runelords and Council of Thieves. Pen and Paper and dice are the second best thing to turn-based strategy games based on Nordic lore.

    The Shadowrun campaign even got me psyched to run a Shadowrun game.

    I own all editions (except 3.5) of D&D but I love how Pathfinder streamlined the whole thing, although I admit I think it's overpowered, there is no first level D&D anymore.

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    Superbacker LoliSauce's Avatar
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    You might as well call me Kimberly, because my post was going to be roughly the same thing.

    ...actually please don't call me Kimberly, it would be confusing and could cause gender confusion.

    Anyway, I mostly never had the chance to get into tabletop or new school board gaming due to my family's nomadic living habits while I was growing up. After I moved out for college and whatnot I had a lot of friends that used to play some tabletop game or another, but I never managed to get a real game in with anyone. I think there's a group that get together at libraries or some shit here in Vegas, but I have no solid idea of who/when/where/how to contact/etc.

    It's unfortunate. I think I would have a lot of fun with it, as I like storytelling and getting everyone laughing or excited about things.

    Oh, and to all those who've mentioned enjoying Apples 2 Apples, check out Cards Against Humanity. You can print off your own cards for free (they provide a printable pdf) and buy the expansion if you like it enough. It's basically the exact same game, but with more ridiculous (and usually terrible) questions and answers. There's even an online clone that I often play with friends in the middle of the night. (voice chat highly advised for maximum humor value)

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    Backer kincajou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eberict View Post
    Haha, the hotseat time problem is why I now advocate simpler rulesets. The bulk of the rules in the systems I like are still for combat, but that's also because I prefer to handle the social parts of the game through roleplaying; the recent (since 2000) push to put numbers to social aspects of roleplay get too abused by bully GMs and players unwilling to commit wholly to their characterisations. (At least in my experiences.) In combat and non-combat oriented games, though, I find that the best GMs are the ones who place the most importance on ramifications and consequences of actions both on and off the battlefield and not on tangible social rewards and loot monty hauls.
    completely agree with you there, personally most of my games tend to minimise the use of rules all round. In paranoia i have actually removed the combat rules and based most actions on "drammatic need"... it removes a lot of player "freedom" but i found it fits nicely with the idea and as long as i remain fair and keep the game fun players don't really care if the enemy laser should really have vaporised their arm or not :P.

    As for the rewards, i agree with you, which is mostly why i like to take about a week to prepare my missions, it allows me to add the little props, DM elements that allow consequences for the actions and to debreif the characters from their last mission appropriately (granted in paranoia half the time they get terminated but its the surreal logic which the computer uses to come to its conclusions which makes the debreifings worthwhile).
    "...And upon that banner you write down your deeds so that you cannot forget."

  19. #19
    Backer kincajou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoliSauce View Post
    Anyway, I mostly never had the chance to get into tabletop or new school board gaming due to my family's nomadic living habits while I was growing up. After I moved out for college and whatnot I had a lot of friends that used to play some tabletop game or another, but I never managed to get a real game in with anyone. I think there's a group that get together at libraries or some shit here in Vegas, but I have no solid idea of who/when/where/how to contact/etc.
    If you google vegas+ roleplaying games you should get something,
    here is what i found;

    https://roleplaying-games-rpgs.meetup.../nv/las_vegas/
    "...And upon that banner you write down your deeds so that you cannot forget."

  20. #20
    Superbacker LoliSauce's Avatar
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    Word. Guess I haven't put in much effort to look them up. Thanks for the link.

    Looking at it, I've actually met with two of these groups before by happenstance, one in particular being the Steampunk society guys. They are some interesting people!

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