Monday, October 24, 2016

Review Burp: Redemption RPG

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/134505/Redemption-A-Game-of-Tactics-and-Consequences?affiliate_id=815972
Redemption RPG
My review of Redemption is featured with Indy Game Scene in issue #237 of KoDT this month.

Redemption is a military/science fiction RPG. Though the game itself wasn't my cup of coffee and I had a number of criticisms, it is a silver seller over at drivethrurpg.com.

Disclosure: Links to product pages include my DriveThruRPG.com
affiliate identification. I receive token % in compensation if you purchase something on the landing page.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

RPG Fanzine The Codex Needs Writers

The RPG Fanzine, The Codex is looking for writers. Rate is 5 cents per word. Writing for each issue follows a theme.

I sent in my query and will fill this update once I lock down any further information for submitters. This is the same group that produces The Gauntlet Patreon.

Interested? The G+ Page has all the information and a free download of Blood to get your started.

Friday, October 14, 2016

RPG NEWS: Kickstarter Isn’t Accountable, Loves Money, Chump!

http://withinthedungeon.blogspot.com/search/label/Angry%20Nerd
Angry Nird
In a timeframe just less than two years a “certain person” was allowed to “complete” eight (8) Kickstarter campaigns under two different entities: Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment. As many in the gaming community well know, these campaigns didn’t generate much beyond a double handful of broken promises and gamer angst.

As far as Kickstarter is concerned (which it doesn’t seem to be) a project is “complete” once it has reached its funding goal. Beyond this and whether the project creator delivers, is not their concern. While I can certainly understand the failure to deliver once or twice, perhaps concerning an overzealous creator. At what point should Kickstarter take some responsibility? Apparently, never. These projects are all small potatoes, but cumulatively they add up. Certainly, the creator must pass some sort of criteria to post more than one or two campaigns?

Also not Kickstarter's concern, is that any failed creator can apparently launch not only one or two or three projects, but eight (8). Eight? Eight projects in less than two years and mind you by Kickstarters own definition these were likely considered successful. Despite the fact the campaigns themselves were absolutely unsuccessful. The comments (at the bottom) sections for each tell a more accurate story; happy backers are few and far between. Not only does Kickstarter not think it’s accountable for these farces, it’s so not accountable that it didn't stop this creator at project five or six. Two additional turds were needed, because as it turns out, eight was enough. (after all)   
In total these (mostly) unfulfilled projects generated over $180k from backers. What is most troubling and which was previously noted by notanotherdime; is that Kickstarter allowed this "certain person" to start many of these campaigns after a handful of the prior campaigns remained (& remain) unfulfilled. It’s not Kickstarter's job to notice whether or not a concurrent project creator is fulfilling his/her previous project obligations. "By all means," says Kickstarter, "start up another and some hapless chump will back it." (Disclaimer: my words/humor; not actually stated by Kickstarter) 

We end this blog post with a chronological list of Kickstarter activity concerning Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment. It’s a good research point. The summary (as many, well know) is that though funded, these projects didn’t meet a satisfactory end. Many bloggers have pointed out the owner of these two business entities is a bad, horrible human being. Whether this is true-is not the focus of this post. What is the focus is that you should be very careful in what you back in regards to Kickstarter, because Kickstarter doesn’t have your back. I can't say it loud enough, so I'll bold it: KICKSTARTER DOESN'T HAVE YOUR BACK! 
A fool and his money are easily parted, don't be a fool. Kickstarter thinks you’re a chump and so far they’ve been spot on. And they’re not afraid to take a percentage of that action. Oh-yeah that’s right Kickstarter isn’t accountable, but it will happily collect its 5% fee and 3%-5% processing fee based on pledge level. What else should it do? Nothing. About the only thing Kickstarter seems accountable for is accounting the pledges, or more adequately taking their cut of the $. Good for them. (no not really; shame on them) What about accountability?

Kickstarter 101 Page that notes Accountability


















Kickstarter Basics: Accountability

"Who is responsible for completing a project as promised?
It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it."

Thoughts?

Second Sentence:Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.”
How is it possible (even factual) that Kickstarter considers funding as not "a" part of development? Especially, since most creators beyond the idea itself, would be hard pressed to say it wasn't the most important part. If raising money is not part of development-would project creators, (looking to get their project funded and in front of as many eyes as possible and did I mention funded, so they can produce said project) say the same? I doubt it. Kickstarter may say whatever, apparently. The truth is another matter.  

According to Kickstarter money has nothing to do with development. It doesn’t matter what is added to the project based on funding beyond the goal, or that Kickstarter encourages project creators to use stretch goals and backer rewards as a means to generate funding. As monetary goals are met, the project gets bigger. True, Kickstarter doesn't control the scope of any project as many have been known to balloon well beyond feasibility, but how is this not about development?
A bit of an aside, but I nearly backed Robotech RPG Tactics. However, after it tripled through its funding goal and eventually raised over $1.4 million I was glad I didn't. Given that Palladium Books is a small company I thought it was going to be an ambitious project. 

The emphasis here is that Kickstarter allowed a project creator to conduct funding for different projects, 8 different times. At some point someone should have realized some of those projects weren't being finished. The project are practically (and some are in fact) on top of each other as well. And for it's part Kickstarter policy takes the stance that they are not accountable?
That is a ridiculous position. I hope I'm not the only one who thinks so. (comments are open) And what say you Kickstarter?
Post Links & Credit

Many bloggers and forum contributors have done good work in order to notify the gaming community of a “certain person” and have blogged about the failure of each of these Kickstarters. I hope that this post will encourage others to take a closer look at Kickstarter itself. Here is a list of those folks, which have kept fighting the good fight. If you know of more that have blogged about this leave them in the comments and I’ll update this post:

BlogSpot Shout Outs! 



Ken Whitman Games & D20 Entertainment Present! (no, not really) 
First to Last Kickstarter Projects: July 2013-April 2015
Kickstarters Launched: 8 (1 suspended); 2 by Ken Whitman Games, 6 by D20 Entertainment
Funding Total: $186,329

Knights Quest Family Card Game

Created By: Ken Whitman Games 
Funding period: Jul 17 2013 - Aug 6 2013 (20 days)
Blurb: Knight's Quest game conjures tales of Dragons, Fair Maidens, Brave Knights, in an easy to learn out of the box family fun! 
Damage Report: 196 backers pledged $9,234 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Some products delivered in various states or presentation. A backer notes being refunded, another notes receiving a package that was smelly…

Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series (KODT:LAS) 

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Dec 8 2013 - Feb 5 2014 (59 days)
Blurb: B.A., Bob, Dave, Brian & Sara are ready to go live - Live Action Series that is! Help make the KoDT Movie a reality!
Damage Report: 795 backers pledged $69,525 to help bring this project to life.
Comment/Delivery Status: Partially delivered, sorta, but unfinished. Most did not receive pledge rewards. Though others have reached out to assist in completing the project it remains uncompleted.

Dice O'Matic (Suspended)

Created By: Ken Whitman Games 
Funding Period: Unsure as it was suspended Date Noted: July 15th 2014
Speculative Reason for Suspension: Not an Original Project and/or concurrent with Spinward
Traveller & D20 Entertainment. 



Spinward Traveller (T.V. Pilot)

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Jun 1 2014 - Jul 15 2014 (44 days)
Blurb: Spinward Traveller is based on the award winning role-playing game. Launch your imagination into the Traveller universe at Jump 6
Damage Report: 827 backers pledged $49,588 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: No rewards sent. Pilot remains to be seen.


Castles & Crusades: Beyond the River (T.V. Pilot)

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Oct 3 2014 - Nov 2 2014 (30 days)
Blurb: Based on the RPG Castles & Crusades, this fantasy TV pilot focuses on a retired knight who solves crimes for kings and noblemen.
Damage Report: 125 backers pledged $6,001 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: No rewards sent. Pilot remains to be finished.

Pencil Dice

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding period: Jan 29 2015 - Feb 28 2015 (30 days)
Interesting Note: “Project We Love,” says Kickstarter.
Blurb: Adding dice pips to a six sided pencil can turn a regular pencil into a valuable game aid! You never know when a game might break out!
Damage Report: 1,351 backers pledged $38,161 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, move along. Similar to the Dice O'Matic the IP of this idea has already been developed.

RPG PENCIL DICE

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Feb 18 2015 - Mar 10 2015 (20 days)
Blurb: Sometimes Random Stuff happens in a RPG! Be Prepared!                                
Damage Report: 337 backers pledged $8,623 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, move along. Similar to the Dice O'Matic the IP of this idea has already been developed. What’s the difference between this project and the above?

Deck Dice

Created By: d20 Entertainment
Funding Period: Mar 8 2015 - Apr 7 2015 (30 days)
Blurb: Adding random polyhedral die rolls to a deck of cards can turn a regular deck of playing cards into a valuable game aid!  
Damage Report: 184 backers pledged $5,197 to help bring this project to life.
Comment Status: Nothing to see here, undelivered.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

RPG Review: DarkFast Dungeons

Disclosure: This review is property of Kenzer and Company, republished here with permission, and may have been modified by the author. Links to product pages include my DriveThruRPG.com affiliate identification. I receive token %, if you purchase something from the landing page. It is one way to support this blog. Thank you. The PDF of DarkFast Dungeons was provided by OKUM ART GAMES free of charge for the purpose of this review.   
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/142052/Darkfast-Dungeons-Basic-Game?affiliate_id=815972
DFD

DarkFast Dungeons
By: David Okum
Published By:
OKUM ART GAMES
Scouted By: J.L. Duncan

Welcome to a review of DarkFast Dungeons Basic Rules Edition, henceforth abbreviated as DFD. Though DFD Basic Rules Edition is a complete game in of itself, the publisher was kind enough to provide four prop set supplements, which I’ll include, a brief mention of within the review. DFD Basic Rules Edition along with a good deal of game and tabletop prop set supplements are currently available at drivethrurpg.com and rpgnow.com in full color PDF, formatted for PC as well as Macintosh. DFD is a cooperative dungeon crawl adventure game that features dynamic gameplay and vast amounts of replay ability. First and most important, replay ability is key with this game because DFD is a PDF print and play product. That is, some work is required on the part of the purchaser to get the dungeon and player icons, various tokens, character as well as game cards; printed, cut and set to adequate virtue.


Standee Characters
For the purpose of the review and consideration of my delicate fingers we will assume the labor involving the scissor and Exacto knife has been completed without any loss of hit points. Judge not, lest ye have exacted thyself before. Though I was tempted by the excellent looking character card icons, I will be testing mechanics of DFD dice and pencil style. The game can be played with one to six players (yes, even solo) with the particulars of game mechanics relying on the use of a few handy-dandy D6s.
Before the start of the game each player selects a character card of their choosing and the corresponding character standee icon, to represent them on the yet to be determined-game board. The characters available in DFD are the Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, Fighter, Mage and Thief.

Looking over the stat numbers as a new player would, the characters in DFD seem at first to have very subtle differences in ability. In part, this is the reliance of D6s for mechanics, but these small differences are deceiving as each character has a certain set of Abilities and Powers which carry over significantly in gameplay.

Once characters have been designated, players can either select or randomly draw (most likely depending on player group preference) the number of additional Talent Cards indicated, as well as are required to draw a specific number of Dark Secret cards. In addition to this, clerics by luck of the draw select two Miracle Powers while mages begin the game with three Magic Spells. Each player receives one Hero Point Marker which despite its gracious title is a dice roll mulligan-(or forcing an opponent’s reroll), in Hero’s clothing. Additional Hero Point Markers can be collected by achieving a critical success, which is rolling a 6 on a D6.

Talent Cards give special abilities to characters, such as specific dice roll advantages to attack or defend as well as special healing gifts, extraordinary movement capabilities and knowledge. Characters already have a certain amount of talents to begin the game with and only the Dwarf character does not select an additional Talent Card-though fret not; the dwarf is balanced with more innate advantages.

A Mission is then designated of which, DFD gives the details of five, but another option provided is to run two missions at the same time. For the most part missions determine the number of (dungeon) tiles used and the length of the game, as well as the player group’s overall goal. Missions have relatively familiar themes to those accustomed to Dungeon style games being pretty self-explanatory; they are The Crawl, Stop the Dread Event, Treasure Quest, Clear the Hex & Rescue. The game is ready to begin when the first tile has been randomly selected.
Before we go further, a couple things to mention, first is that DFD is a cooperative game. The game is played without one player being tasked with assuming the role of a typical Dungeon or Game Master. Second is that the game can be won by an individual player, regardless of mission success or failure by accumulating Victory Points. Points are accrued in a variety of ways, defeating monsters collecting treasure-and so on etc. and tallied at the end of the game.

While the Mission determines the player characters group goal, Dark Secret Cards determine individual goals. As you may have guessed Dark Secrets are not shared with your fellow party members. For the most part Dark Secrets give the characters… Well, umm… Some character! What’s my motivation? Consult your dark secrets…  The cards provide some intrigue but also a bit of character depth.

Though DFD is much more of a tactical tabletop game than say an RPG, Dark Secret cards provide a second layer of play as some cards include conditional behaviors which are sometimes counterproductive to the group’s mission, if played properly. Some cards provide bonuses or penalties based on “past” transgressions, while others like the Nemesis Card give a character the task of assassinating a fellow party member. The cards come into play in relation to Victory Points and if not played appropriately the player characters individual points are halved at the conclusion of the game.

The game begins with a tile chosen randomly and placed on the table which is designated the starting tile. This tile also provides as the way out from the spawning point which is required by some missions. Each tile varies in size but the tiles are squared by the inch to gauge character movement.

From beyond the spawning point the next tile is placed when a player steps directly onto the square that is in front of an entry way. A new tile is placed but the room won’t be activated until a player moves (from one room to another) onto the new tile. What occupies the new tile is determined at random (roll) with six possibilities: nothing, gear, treasure, trap, opponent or event.

Nothing is indeed not-a-thing; gear and treasure is provides a chance for players to accumulate something useful. Traps and many of the Event cards are brutal (but not all) and rolling an opponent spawns forth a random opponent, perhaps even a boss opponent-which is typically left to the final tile of the mission.

Character movement is broken into Game Turns (GTs) under the condition that players act first, followed by the allies (those bewitched or being saved), then opponents, with finally traps and events occurring last. The game has no initiative change between players, from the first tile players roll a D6, add their ability score to the total and play commences from the winner in a clockwise motion around the table.

Movement and how it functions is something interesting in this game. A D6 is used to determine how many Action Points (AP) a player has on his Game Turn (GT). The Action Points for movement allow a player to move an equal amount of squares, of the total number rolled. A tile may have 8 to 16 squares (spaces) for movement.

Action Points in regards to combat is balanced by having a higher AP roll awarded with an additional attack or +1 chance at a successful attack, while if the player has only one AP to use (rolled a one) the attack is -1 to strike. Overall combat in DFD is tactically heavy, with character talents (as well as what players selected) being vitally important. The DFD rulebook has a good deal of succinct rules which exemplify how in combat functions.

Ability Checks are used to roll against undesirable effects, such as unfriendly magic, Traps and Event Cards and are rated on a difficulty scale, but also play into many other things including some Dark Secret, Talent, and Ability Cards.

I have to admit when I first contacted the publisher about this product I had it wrong. DFD is a game that is not quite as simple as it at first seems. Though admittedly it took my mind sometime to grasp, there is a bit of a learning curve present with DFD and overall is a good thing.

Character and Talent choices are very important in this game. One aspect of this has to do with Health Points. Characters in DFD don’t naturally recover Health Points. The cleric has two chances (at: 16% and 18%) to draw or select if 12 is rolled, the Miracle Power Heal; while if selected the Medic Talent can only heal a specific wounding once within the game. There is a small chance that an additional talent or miracle power(s) may be acquired, but it is a slim chance.

The enemies that are not bosses are rated a little less comparable than the Characters and encountered one at a time, but with how healing works, the brutality of traps and events and how one collects Hero Point Markers (mulligans), the game is less reliant on encounters being the focus of the game, at least until the boss level is encountered. Survival is the focus of DFD-and with how the mechanics work it rings true that it is indeed, a 1-6 player game and truer than many other games that make such claims.

I like DFD Basic Rules Edition very much. As a product, save a couple of very minor layout errors in the rulebook, this is a quality product-conscience and easy to understand. The game features tons of replay ability. The additional prop set supplements which provide easy to read and understand comic book style instructions are well worth the few extra bucks. The art with every aspect of this product is exceedingly pleasing to the eye-and something not common with many independent products-consistent. If you’re in the market for a tabletop game and don’t mind a bit of extra effort to put it together, DFD is defiantly worth a buy.