January 11

Enthusiastic Aside (Tabletop Gaming as an Organic Social Experience) @ WorldHopping.net

I have a new post on the World Hopping blog that was meant to be about something completely different but was the victim of some serious mental meandering. A little rambly in places.

Before I start, I would just like to share that I played The Resistance on Thursday and, as one of the two spies in a five player game, won the game without a single mission being resolved.  The other spy and I managed a beautiful display of shenanigans and BS that had everyone not only furiously rejecting every team composition that was put forward, but so preoccupied by this that they did not notice the rejection tracker ticking up towards the magical number 5 that means the spies have been victorious.  It was so awesome that you may have noticed I’ve even gone back and jazzed up that number 5 back there.  That one too.

I was going to say that my little outburst there was just an enthusiastic aside and nothing to do with the actual topic of today’s article, but thinking about it now, I’m going to stick with it.

Continue reading on worldhopping.net


January 10

Makin’ Cards and Takin’ Names

Over the holidays, I was really impressed by the progress that a friend made on his new website.  I’m not going to link it here yet, as it is still very much in development and although it is definitely playable, there are still some bugs to work out, and I know he would rather iron these out before more people see it.

The site is a playable implementation of the card game, Triple Triad, which originated as a minigame in Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy VIII.  There have been and still are other sites to do this, but I’m really enthused about this project, as Daniel is a good guy and I really like the attitude he is taking to his site and game.  His work ethic, speed and competence have also been incredible to watch.

My enthusiasm for the project had rekindled my long-held love for this game.  With that in mind, I have dusted off my templates and started putting together some cards of my own.  I have been putting them up on another site which I hope to fill up with my own work and that of other fans in the near future.  Here are a few of the cards I have made over the past couple of days and a link to the blog where you can always see the latest card that I and others have put together:

freyab  freyar  tkujab  tkujar

carbb  carbr  archib  archir

voljinb  voljinr  Sylvanas

If you’re interested in seeing more, you can follow along at:

Triple Triad Cards

January 5

Hobby Resolutions 2015

It’s been a great year, hobby-wise. I’ve played a lot of games and made real progress in my goal of getting into RPGs. As always, however, I never quite got to do everything I wanted, and I really want to remedy this in the coming year. With that in mind, here are my resolutions for the coming year:

  • Paint more. I have always had a horrible habit of purchasing more models than I actually paint. This has been aptly illustrated with the completion of only about 33 to 36 models in the past two years in the form of a trio of Blood Bowl teams. I have already started this by harnassing my enthusiasm for Wyrd Games’ Malifaux game to paint up a couple of crews. I’m enjoying getting back into the swing of things, but I hope I can maintain the pace. Here’s a work in progress of Rasputina’s crew:

Children of December

  • Burn through the pile of shame. I have a fair few board games in my collection that I have yet to actually play. Among them are some particularly meaty titles like Twilight Imperium 3World of Warcraft and Dark, Darker, Darkest. I’d really like to try to play more of the games I have had sitting for a while.

Dark, Darker, Darkest

  • Be more positive about my hobbies. I need to stop apologising for or feeling embarrassed by my hobbies in mixed company. Games are a far more engaging experience than watching movies or sports, and the painting aspect is a great creative outlet. I need to stop being self-deprecating about what I do. A start is to stop referring to our games group as “Geek Club”.


I’m looking forward to getting back into painting and am really enthused about 2015. Here’s to what could be a great year.

Oh, and I get married this year too. That should probably be included as more than an afterthought…


December 31

Imagedump: Aesoph the Paladin in his Garrison 31/12/14

I kind of blow hot and cold on World of Warcraft. I’ll go months and months without playing, then dip in again for a while, before getting fed up and walking away again. The cycle goes on and on, but I do have a lot of affection for the game and the stories behind it. I’ve played since 2004 and don’t see myself getting rid of it entirely in the near future.

The latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, is proving to be a lot of fun. I like the simplifications that have been made and the streamlining Blizzard has done. One new feature I absolutely adore is the new Garrison. It seems that the powers that be within the Horde or the Alliance have noticed that you’ve saved the world a dozen or so times by now and have decided to stop sending you out, lonesome Joe, to do their bidding. They are now trusting you with resources and soldiers. Early in the expansion, you get the chance to build a little outpost of your own in Draenor and customise it with a choice of buildings and goodies. I think it’s not only fun and cool, but characterful and the chace to have a lot of fun with the social and roleplaying aspects of a game that seems to have forgotten what the fourth and fifth letters of MMORPG stand for.

Anyway, here are a few snaps of my paladin, Aesoph, posing in his Garrison. This is the Alliance version, as my Horde characters are a little father behind:

As I said, I just love this stuff!

Oh, and a happy new year, when it comes!

December 20

Northern Knights Open Weekend – Prepping the Hall

The Northern Knights prepare their hall for this weekend’s festivities as they open their club to the public in celebration of their tenth anniversary. Thursday and Friday saw a lot of prep work and a little bit of gaming.

December 5

Image Dump: Northern Knights Gaming Session 04/12/14

Pictures from last night’s Northern Knights game session. Tonight we had games of Relic and Warhammer 40K. There was some character creation going on for Rogue Trader and I continued to run my Vampire: The Masquerade game.

December 1

Expanding on Experience

Over the past few months, I have written a few posts at the World Hopping blog about my experiences of really getting into roleplay after about a decade and a half of dipping the occasional, tentative toe into that hobby. I feel that I have accumulated a lot of experience over the last few months, trying out a good range of games and reading many more. I’ve particularly enjoyed Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and the opportunity to act as storyteller/GM for the first time in a game of Vampire: The Masquerade. I am also looking forward to trying Rogue Trader again very soon after the disappointment of our first attempt.

Despite this, or perhaps as a result of it, I am thirsty for more. I really want to explore more systems, experience more stories and try to improve my GM skills. I feel that my Vampire game has been a particularly good learning experience and I am getting far better at facilitating the collaborative storytelling process that is central to every RPG.


My goal going forward, and this may become a new year resolution, will be to try to have at least one RP session every week. This may be in person, which would be preferable, or it may be over Skype. I am going to make a point of seeking out more players, whether they are experienced roleplayers or newbies who have never thrown a dice with more than six sides.

Not counting my ongoing Vampire game and the upcoming Rogue Trader, these are the games I would like to play in the next year:

  • Fiasco - possibly using a custom playset. Fiasco is a really cool looking, no-GM RPG intended to be played through in a single session with very little prep. Given the lack of GM to guide things along, I would prefer to play this one with more experienced players.
  • World of Darkness – the core book that deals with mortals in the nWOD. I would like to run a mortal campaign as an alternative to systems like Call of Cthulhu which seem to get bogged down in too many rules and stats. This would be a great campaign for new players, as it draws on the World of Darkness mythos, but does not require knowledge of the setting. Actually, if you are playing as a mortal, experiencing the hidden horrors of the world for the first time, ignorance of the wider setting may be a bonus.
  • Changeling: The Lost, Demon: The DescentPromethean: The Created, Orpheus or Geist: The Sin-Eaters – basically any of the less common World of Darkness games. I really love the background to these titles and would like the opportunity to explore them further.
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen: just a fun little storytelling game of tall tales. Single session fun :)

These are just a few of the systems I have been reading through and am keen to try. I would like to try others, but I think I am going to make these, and the continuation of my Vampire game, a priority.

November 26

Roleplay Radio Digest @ WorldHopping.net

I have a new post on the World Hopping blog about actual play recordings of tabletop RPGs and where to find them.

This week’s post is a bit of a linkdump. I have spoken a lot about roleplaying games over the last couple of months and about how to get started as both a player and as a GM. Today, I’m going to link you to some really great resources to help you get your head around tabletop RPGs and maybe whet your appetite to get into it or, if you are already a roleplayer, to perhaps try something new.

Many websites and podcasts now create and host recorded RPG play sessions, in the same way that video game fans post Let’s Play videos. As with the Let’s Play videos, these recordings can range from incredibly polished, professional affairs to more basic, amateur endeavours.

Continue reading on worldhopping.net

November 26

Is The Grauniad Getting It?


My attention was drawn this evening to an article over at The Grauniad (The Guardian for those who do not read the Eye) discussing your favourite topic and mine. It is entitled “Board games’ golden age: sociable, brilliant and driven by the internet” and discusses the current state of the tabletop hobby.

It does start off a little weaksauce, with the usual attitude of “hey, in the time of video games, it turns out that board games are still a thing! Remember those? Who’d have thunk it?”, but this is quickly replaced by a tour of some key hobby titles, a few comments on design, some assorted quotes from industry insiders and a slightly long segment on Qwirkle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Qwirkle. I especially enjoy playing Qwirkle with children, but I also think it is a tad overrated and not really deserving of the Spiel Des Jahres award it received. That said, it’s good to see it, and others such as PandemicUgg-TectDead of Winter and Freedom: The Underground Railroad get a bit of mainstream recognition for a change.

One paragraph I particularly liked reads:

But players and designers are keen to suggest another reason for the hobby’s resurgence. Games are simply getting better. Publishers are turning out products with elegant mechanics and impressive artwork as fast as their customers can snap them up. Board games are going through a golden age.

The related articles section at the bottom of the page also provided interesting and reassuring reading, showing that The Guardian (it has earned the correct spelling today) has actually given a fair bit of coverage to the tabletop hobby in recent months and years with articles such as:

It’s nice to see some mainstream coverage of what is, despite a tremendous amount of growth over the past few years, still a very niche hobby.

November 21

Image Dump: Northern Knights Gaming Session 20/11/14

Pictures from tonight’s Northern Knights game session. Tonight we had games of Warhammer 40K and Cosmic Encounterl, as well as a fair bit of painting and some character creation for Rogue Trader.