A Gnome's Ponderings

I'm a gamer. I love me some games and I like to ramble about games and gaming. So, more than anything else, this blog is a place for me to keep track of my ramblings. If anyone finds this helpful or even (good heavens) insightful, so much the better.

Archive for Print and Play

[1]  Prev «  10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14  Next »  [14]

Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

My August PnP

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
August has gone by so quickly that I find myself already behind now that we’re in September Still, I did do some Print and Play crafting during August and here’s what I made:

Bali
Tempus Imperium
Catan Coop

Eventually, I am going to miss my goal of making a ‘big’ project each month but I haven’t yet. I’m quite happy to have finally made a copy of Bali, which was my big project for August. The fact that I’m pretty sure it’s been out of print for decades doesn’t bode super well but I think it will prove worth at least making a home made copy.

Tempus Imperium and Catan Coop both just involved laminating a single page. Still, I am quite curious about them both. Tempus Imperium will be the first time I’ve tried a Roll and Write where you replace dice with the date and time. I don’t know how well that will work but I think it’s something worth looking at. Catan Coop is something I’d never heard of (not a great sign) so I’m curious to see if it’s any good. Having a version of Catan (even a simplified one and a cooperative one) that I can carry anywhere would be nifty.

September looks to be another busy month but I’m hoping to crank out at least one ‘big’ project if nothing else.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Wed Sep 4, 2019 10:06 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

How deep can Dry Erase be?

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
One of my fantasy goals is finding a dry erase game that has the heft of a game that, you know, has components. Basically, the idea of playing a heavy game while sitting in an airplane. And, yes, we already have that and it’s called use a tablet, silly. Which we have done, in fact.

Still, the idea of going low tech is appealing. There’s the ‘look ma, no batteries’ factor, of course. However, actually doing something with real stuff with your hands adds a visceral level to a game.

A few years back, I checked out a game called Akua that looked like the ideal I was looking for. It was a perfect information game that was just a board then add different colored markers. So, mechanically, it is the kind of game you can play on a Greyhound bus. Which was a really cool idea to me, even though I haven’t been on a Greyhound in a dog’s age.

The problem was that Akua was intricate to the point of being convoluted. It didn’t flow. I am not saying I’ve completely given up on it but it’s got issues.

Basically, I’m asking for the unreasonable The game I want needs to be simple enough that it can work within the medium but deep enough to be meaty and satisfying.

Well, I’m going to craft a couple games that I think will scratch a similar itch.

One is Tempus Imperium, which I understand to be the prototype of the Tempus Quest series. It’s a Roll and Write but you use the time and date instead of dice. I’m quite curious to see how it turns out and I might check out the Tempus Quest series if I like it. It’s infrastructure building with a random setup based on when you’re playing it. No dice required, just a watch.

At the same time, it’s a solitaire so it kind of fails one of basic my needs. But the idea, if it works, seems like a good building block.

The other game I’m looking at is a Catan variant called Catan Coop. It’s an ink friendly Roll and Write where you’re working together to each get seven points before the bandit destroys too many hexes, which the bandit can do in this variant. You keep track of resources on a table on the same sheet of paper as the map. You do need dice and a pawn for the bandit. Beyond that, everything is either drawn or notated on the one page.

It does lose some points in that you do need dice and some sort of pawn. But I suppose that a metal clipboard and a magnet for the pawn plus some sort of tiny dice tray could make it work for the mythological Greyhound that I’ll never get on.

Still, for a stupidly portable form of Catan, it’s worth my looking into. Print the board with the table one side, the rules on the other, and laminate it. I can stick that in my bag where it will take up no space and play it anywhere. This is Catan for a backpacking trip.

If it’s any good, of course. I mean, it doesn’t have development cards which is a major loss but understandable to simplify the game.

As I’ve already mentioned, the idea of a travel dry erase heavier game is unnecessary. Honestly, tablets make more sense. But it’s fun to think about.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:21 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Why Project Shrinko is so nifty

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
Right now, one of the neat ideas that has been going around the Print and Play community has been Project Shrinko. For the historians who are reading this, the idea is taking a larger game and making a smaller PnP version that’s still true to the spirit of the original.

Important point. This isn’t just making a physically smaller version, like a chess set with tiny pieces. It involves having fewer components, as well as _probably_ a simpler rule set, shorter play time and fewer players.

This is _clearly_ not a new idea. Heck, that was one of the selling points of San Juan was this very idea. That was about fifteen years ago and I am absolutely certain it wasn’t the first.

I think there are two really useful aspects to this approach to a game. One is that the Project Shrinko versions are a way for you to try out a game and decide if you want to actually make the investment of buying the big game. Although, if you’re not into PnP, that might not work out for you

However, for me, I have to ask myself how much am I actually going to play a game. That’s where reason number two comes in. If I’m only going to play a game once or twice a year, making the Project Shrinko version makes a lot more sense from both a storage and money standpoint.

Frankly, I realized I was sold on this idea a while back. I don’t have either Elfenland or Tigris and Euphrates but I do own King of the Elves and Euphrates and Tigris: Clash Of Kings. (Them be the card versions of those games) Years will go by without me playing them but this way I can get a taste of classic games while minimizing my storage space. I have just enough for my needs.

A couple years ago, I heard a discussion about Kickstarter stretch goals on a Dice Tower podcast, that you could spend a lot of money to get a lot of extra stuff but it was only worth it if you actually played the game enough that you used it all. And that’s so true. Back in the day, my group got most of the Dominion expansions and it was totally worth it since we played it all the time. Other games with expansions... not so much.

So making a stripped down, smaller version of a game might actually give me all I’d end up playing anyway

I don’t know what l will end up making but I have a feeling that when I start planning for the fall and winter crafting, Project Shrinko will be part of my consideration.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:23 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

My July PnP

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
July has come and gone, which means it’s time for me to write about what Print and Play projects I made last month.

Saloon Shootout (2019 9-Card contest)

Legacy of the Land (2019 9-Card Contest)

Under Falling Skies (2019 9-Card Contest)

Escape of the Dead (three card version)

13 Sheep

Lantern (2019 Roll and Write contest)

King of Dune



Not bad for a summer month. A handful of small projects (Indeed, I made the three-card Escape of the Dead just because I had extra space in the laminating folder when I made 13 Sheep) and one larger project, King of Dune.



While I wouldn’t pass up a copy of The King of Siam or The King is Dead, I am happy to have the King of Dune version in my collection. Having a modular version of the board is something that I really like. It adds a lot to the game.



When I decided to try and make a larger project ever month earlier in the year, I didn’t think I’d keep it up for more than a couple of months. But I’ve managed it for six months (Sorry January) And I already have plans for August.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Thu Aug 1, 2019 7:18 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Haunted House: Save the Children - No effort and no choices

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
I stumbled upon Haunted House: Save the Children on one of my regular searched for PnP solitaire games, although it’s not actually a print and play game since it just takes a deck of traditional playing cards, a couple of dice and some way of tracking health points. No construction necessary.

You are exploring a seriously haunted house, trying to rescue four children or die trying. That’s actually pretty much the entire theme of the game but it doesn’t need to be anymore than that.

Shuffle the deck and go through each card, one at a time. The aces are the four kids you’re trying to save. The queens are gentle spirits who will heal you. Deuces don’t do anything. Everything else is trying to kill you. The dice come in to resolve threes through tens. Roll equal or over or take some damage.

Haunted House:Save the Children commits one of the cardinal sins of game design in my worldview. There are absolutely no choices involved. You flip over a card and do whatever the rules tell you to do.

Shockingly, this doesn’t offend me that much. That’s because the game didn’t even cost me printer ink. All I had to do was get out some game components I use so much I don’t even actually put them away.

There are a variety of variant rules. They do things like add flavor text and tables of random events and increase the odds of dying horrible. They don’t actually add any choices though

Years ago, I picked up a game called Adventurer: Card Game that did the exact same thing. The only difference is that it had thematic illustrations and cost money. Having to pay for the experience, that enraged me to the point that I haven’t forgotten or forgiven an otherwise completely forgettable game.

Yes, being free and construction free actually makes me not mind Haunted House.

Haunted House isn’t a game I can really recommend. If you’re looking for a free game for a mental coffee break, there are plenty of more interesting choices. However, I did have fun being able to try it out without any effort.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:31 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Escape of the Dead, better than I remembered

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
At a very different place in my life, I first discovered and played Escape of the Dead. At the time, I considered it a game whose chief virtues were that it was free PnP that took minimal construction skills and played out in maybe ten minutes. Now, I still think those are some of it’s strongest points but I value those things more

Short version: Escape of the Dead is a solitaire dice game where you are trying to fix your car before the zombies break through the walls. It uses a Stone Age-style worker placement where you assign dice to one of three zones. Four dice to spread out over killing zombies, rebuilding your barricade and fixing that darn car.

One of its biggest criticisms is that there is a degenerate strategy where you focus on killing zombies and use the bonus for killing ten zombies to fix the car, until the end where you go all in on repairing the car. And, to be honest, it’s a pretty reliable strategy. There’s still a chance you’ll lose but the odds are in your favor.

At the same time, the game itself is streamlined without any fiddlyness. Each step is easy to understand and flows into the next. And since the zombie spawn rate increases as the car gets closer to being fixed, Escape of the Dead does a good job ratcheting up the tension. In other words, the game is far from perfect but it manages to still be fun.

Over the last few years, I have played a lot more PnP solitaires, particularly short ones as parent breaks. Going to back to Escape or the Dead, I found that it does very well as a mental coffee break. Thematic and with a tense endgame, it does the trick.

When it comes to free PnP games, I freely admit that I have a different standard than I do for published products or PnP files that I’ve paid for. I do cut them more slack. While Escape of the Dead definitely has some flaws, it’s worth both printing out and playing.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:56 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

I hope Lantern is the first spark of what it to come

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
Lantern was the winner of the Best Game category in Boardgame Geek’s 2019 Roll and Write contest. So, of course I had to print it out and try it out. In fact, I laminated the play sheet because I figured it would see multiple play.

Lantern is, for all intents and purposes, a one-page dungeon crawl. It’s far from the first one-page dungeon crawl I’ve ever seen but it definitely has some touches I like. It’s a solitaire, which actually means I’ll play it more

At the start of the game, you roll six dice to create your adventurer. You assign the die to numbers to critical hit, counter attack, magic spell, constitution, and experience, as well as the special campfire area in the middle of the adventure. The first four let you manipulate the dice while experience and the campfire give you a limited way to recharge the abilities.

The sheet has been eight zones. Seven of them are encounters that require a specific combination of dice to defeat, ending in a dragon that requires six of a kind to kill. The other one is the campfire that I already mentioned.

As I mentioned before, there are a surprising number of one-page dungeon crawls out there and there’s some that I haven’t tried yet but I should. But the game that Lantern really reminds me of is Delve. Both games are just sets of encounters that you roll dice to resolve.

Delve is literally Yahtzee with dice combinations as special powers. Lantern, on the other hand, is all about dice manipulation. Of the two, I think I like Lantern better. You have both more control and more difficult choices since you can only use each manipulation a limited number of times and they are also your life points.

Not that I want to disparage Delve. It’s aged pretty well and still gives you a decent dungeon crawl experience in five, ten minutes. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure it’s been an influence on the genre and I’d be surprised if Lantern’s designer never heard of it. However, it’s biggest advantage in a comparison is a lot of extra material has been designed for it, including a scenario generator.

However, from what I’ve read, the current version of Lantern is still a work in progress. It sounds like there are plans to add restrictions and conditions to zones and possibly create whole new adventures. Which is great because I think Lantern has a lot of potential.

So, at the moment, Lantern is a fun little Roll and Write and I can see why it placed so well in the contest. But I am hoping that the best is yet to come.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2202582/wip-lantern-solitai...

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:50 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Take a couple minutes to fence in some sheep

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
My latest foray into Roll and Write, as well as Print and Play, has been 13 Sheep, which is one of the more minimalist Roll and Write I have found. And, yes, with games like Criss Cross or 30 Rails, there is some competition for that. (Not Another One still holds the title though)

13 Sheep is played on a seven by eight grid. There are thirteen sheep which are inside squares and eight or nine bushes in the ‘lines’. You are going to be drawing fences in the grid, trying to enclose groups of sheep. However, the fence shapes you can draw are determined by a die roll, you can’t draw over bushes and you have a limited number of turns before the wolves show up and it’s all over.

Here’s how it goes. Get a sheet. If there’s more than one person playing, make sure everyone has the same sheet. Then roll the die. Each number has a three segment line shape assigned to it and you have to draw that one on your sheet. You can rotate them but you can’t flip them. And, on top of those pesky bushes, you can not cross over an already built fence or draw on a space where a line already is.

You’ve got a timer, the wolf track. You cross off a box with every roll and the first seven rolls are free. However, the last four boxes have numbers in them (6,5,4,1) If you roll that number or higher, the game immediately ends. (Why the row doesn’t just end with the four, I can’t tell you) You then score up each enclosure. More sheep means more points. Most points wins, unless you’re playing solitaire. In which case, you are your own competition.

13 Sheep is an odd beast for me. The game is, at most, going to last ten die rolls. Maybe just seven. And the dice are going to really control what your options are. At the same time, the game doesn’t play itself. You have to actually make decisions and make the best with what that die gives you. But the die can stomp your plans into the dust and laugh at your tears.

One of the biggest virtues of the game is also its biggest drawback. It is so gosh darn short. It’s only a few minutes so it’s easy for casual play. With just one die, you can fit in a play or two while waiting for your coffee or appetizers. And you can teach it to just about anyone in that time.

But it is also so short. Seven to ten die rolls isn’t enough for luck to flatten itself out. The potential to make clever choices isn’t nearly as great as the power of the random number gods. The power of choice fights against the illusion of choice.

Still, it’s a free PnP game that doesn’t require any kind of cutting or folding. And it is so short that being thrashed by the die doesn’t sting that much. In fact, I've found it has a strong ‘one more time’ effect. So if you’re willing to go in on the game, I don’t think it’ll be a game breaker. It won’t be your new forever game but you’ll have fun with it for a bit.

One concern I had, that the game initially had just two boards, has been assuaged by the designer creating a random board generator. Which can make some weird boards but offers a lot more variety.

At the end of the day, 13 Sheep isn’t a perfect Roll and Write. Ada Lovelace or BentoBlocks do dice-based shape forming better and deeper. And luck beats planning every time. However, I am having fun with it and it might be a game that I include when I send out greeting cards.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:17 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Looks like I’ll be rolling and writing

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
In 2017, my understanding of Roll and Write as a concept and as a genre took a huge leap with the GenCan’t Roll and Write contest. Considering the fact that I had already seen that the genre could go past Yahtzee with games like Roll Through the Ages and Zooleretto the Dice Game, I shouldn’t have needed that kick in the bum but apparently I did.

And Boardgame Geek has just finished up a Roll and Write contest. And I just learned that this year’s GenCan’t design contest is another Roll and Write one. The first one released all the entries they got permission to release and I’m hoping that they do the same again this year. In other words, there’s at least one new treasure trove of Roll and Write games to explore. And even if GenCan’t just releases the winner of their contest, it is bound to be a humdinger.

From what I can tell, Roll and Write games have basically exploded over the last few years. Which makes sense from a publishing standpoint. A pad of sheets has to be cheaper than a mounted board, let alone a host of wooden and plastic pieces.

But that same argument applies for me as well. Roll and Write games can be the simplest Print and Play to make. There are a many solid Roll and Writes that I can make myself, either because they are free or get the files for a low price.

Yes, there are now some Roll and Writes that use cards, not just a play sheet. (Welcome To looks fascinating) And sometimes there are speciality dice that can’t be substituted by a six-sided and a character or sharpie. So it’s not like I’m saying there is no point or value to buying a published version of a Roll and Write.

But there are so many PnP options that, particularly with the option of lamination and dry erase markers, that I am hard pressed to buy published copies. I’m not saying I won’t buy games like Welcome To or such but Roll and Write is an amazing design space to explore within PnP.


Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:43 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

My June PnP

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
June has passed us by. As I knew, June was not going to be much of a Print and Play month for me. In addition to summer starting, it was also the month that we took our vacation.

I just made one project last month but it was a ‘full-sized’ game, Red7. I actually made more sheets of components by making this one game than I made in January.

I actually printed out the sheets when they first became available. However, at that time, my PnP experience was so limited that I was scared I would ruin them and color printing doesn’t grow on trees. But I have been working on actually getting some of my ‘someday’ printing become ‘today’ games. I’ve also been working on trying to regularly make games that are more than nine or eighteen cards.

With Red7, I did both.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Mon Jul 1, 2019 8:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

[1]  Prev «  10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14  Next »  [14]