Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Blood Bowl video game has a hotseat mode

Picture this: a chill breeze blows over a scraggly field as a group of orcs faces off against a group of undead. Steam puffs from the orcs' noses and mouths as they snort the cold air. The undead do not breathe at all. Then a ghoul charges forward, its bony claws tearing furrows in the grass and flinging clumps of grass into the air. It swings its leg, and kicks a spiked football into the air. Both teams leap into action as the crowd goes wild...

Blood Bowl is a tabletop miniatures game created by Games Workshop. It's seen a number of video game adaptations, most recently as Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition, which was recently on sale for ten bucks on Steam. It takes place in the Warhammer Fantasy world, which is a very grim Renaissance-era fantasy setting that features all sorts of terrible demons and monsters. In Blood Bowl, those terrible demons and monsters are playing football.

It's wacky, hilarious, and brutal. I've only played a little bit of the game, but so far I'm loving the sight of orcs, dwarves, elves, and more wearing primitive football pads and fighting over a spike-studded ball. Some of the teams play the game straight, while others cheat for all they're worth or simply focus on grinding the other team into the dirt.

The video game can be played either turn-based or as an RTS. I'm lost enough when playing the turn-based game, so I haven't tried the RTS mode yet. As a turn-based game, it even has a hot-seat mode. This means that two players can share a computer. When one person's turn ends, you just pass the mouse to the other player.

So if any of you have the game, or if you're in the area and want to stop by my place, why don't we toss around the old pigskin? Wait, that leather doesn't look like it was made out of a pig...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thinking Way Too Hard About: PC Weapon rewards for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Okay, so here's a weirdly specific blog post about something that's been on my mind lately. The only RPG campaign I've ever been in that played consistently and reached a conclusion was a Star Wars game that my brother ran. The Star Wars campaign has been on my mind lately because my current campaign is on sort of an unintentional hiatus and I've heard that some of my coworkers are in a Star Wars game.

Looking back, the Star Wars campaign was a lot of fun. I can still remember fighting droids on a hovering platform over lakes of acid, and the forest race whose tribal meetings were held entirely in poetry. That said, I feel like the two areas that could have used the most improvement would have been an overarching villain and some loot to reward the heroes.

This led me to thinking about how best to give weapons to characters in a Star Wars campaign. I've played a lot of Knights of the Old Republic, which in many ways sticks a little too closely to its roots as Dungeons and Dragons in Space. As the characters progress, perhaps their starting "Blaster Pistol" might be traded out for something like a "Republic Blaster Pistol" (a little better) which would later be traded out for a "Mandalorian Blaster Pistol" (even better). The game then had some extra special items that you pick up along the way. Take down a bounty hunter, for instance, and you can pick up his specially customized pistol and use it as your own. This works, but I think GMs can be more creative.

I think that giving weapons backgrounds is a great way to draw the players into the game setting. If anything unites all players in all RPGs ever, it's the desire for better gear for their characters. Players are going to be expecting to get better gear, so if the GM can use the gear to tell a story, everyone wins.

So, mostly to amuse myself, I cooked up a couple of special Star Wars weapons that could be used to reward medium-or high-level PCs in a Star Wars campaign.