How has Gaming Changed You? #RPGaDay

So let’s get back to the list of #RPGaDay 2018 questions, shall we? Today’s question is How has gaming changed you? 

This question is a very hard one for me to be honest. I imagine that it is intended more for gamers that that who may be relatively new to the hobby. For me gaming has always been a part of who I am. I discovered the hobby at around eight or nine years old. I first discovered roleplaying games at my local library and instantly fell deeply in love with the hobby. Even before discovering dungeons and dragons I had a deep love for the Arthurian legends. So the chance to play a game where I and my friends could be knights of legend ourselves! Shortly after I found my first group and from that day forward gaming has been a part of my life.

 

RPGaday2018 words

So I have to think hard to decide in ways gaming changed my formative years. I know that gaming made me more accepting of others. When I was younger there was no internet to assist anyone in finding groups, and satanic panic was in full swing a few short years later. Needless to say, if we found gamers we were not very picky. We would work with them to help make them better gamers. Another way that gaming changed me would be my reading habits. The hobby turned me into a voracious reader for many years, sadly this is a habit that I have fallen out of and need to embrace once again. I know there are likely more ways that gaming changed me over the years.

The reality is that I have been gaming for so long that it has had an influence on far too many things to list in one short blog. Either way, if you ask me all of these ways that gaming changed me were for the better.

 

So how has gaming changed you?

 

 

If you enjoyed this blog you might enjoy the links below.

 

#RPGaDay Day 9 Favorite Die/ Die set.

 

#RPGaDay2015 Day 9 Favorite Media you wish was an RPG

 

 

Kickstarter Hands On Review: The Mimic Chest

1549c037ee6b27c810a990835ae65eac_original


The Mimic Chest

At first glance, it looks like a normal treasure chest. Roll high enough in perception, and you can see that it’s actually a precision-crafted, compact, durable, magnetic transforming caddy for all your tabletop game gear.
-Polymorph Crafts.

Out of all of the blogs that I’ve written, and all of the Kickstarter reviews that I have done, The Mimic Chest has been the single most up-and-down roller coaster ride of a Hands-On review I’ve ever written.

Oh, Mimic Chest how I love you and hate you! This rollercoaster ride began with the honor of me being given one of 12 pre-release Kickstarter Mimic Chests by Polymorph Crafts. My little mimic crawled his way to me at a snail’s pace as all of the other reviewers got there before me, I don’t blame Polymorph Crafts I blame the postal service and my Mimic. I don’t just say this in jest, Polymorph Crafts themselves have humorously told us that our Mimics have personalities, and damned if I don’t agree.

Polymorph Crafts even went so far as to include a thank you for adopting your Mimic pamphlets in the box when you receive it in the mail. The pamphlet jokes about Mimics being hard to rehabilitate and that you’ll need to spend some extra time with your Mimic when it arrives so that you can imprint on each other and get along. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that mine arrived with the spirit of Loki the trickster God in him because it sought endlessly to aggravate me in the beginning.

I was overjoyed when I  pulled my Mimic Chest out of its box, unclasp the straps, and watch it explode my hands as I tried to disassemble it properly the first time! Undaunted I picked it back up, reassembled it only to prove that my ogre hands we’re just going to break it into a million pieces a second time! My Mimic would go on to mock me until I learned just how to remove it from its magnets and assemble it properly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Needless to say the early going between me and my and my box was a rough one, but not without reward. With The Mimic comprised of over 200 magnets holding it together as you work with it each time you set a piece into place, there’s a satisfying snap of the magnets as they come together. As you become more proficient with assembling and disassembling your Mimic its hard not be slightly awed by the fact with the exception of the Dice Tray this thing is completely held together by MAGNETS!

After repeating this process several times with the Mimic I set up the Dice Tray and Tower. I wanted to test the sturdiness of the Tower’s magnets when a handful or two dice were rolled down it. I also wanted to be sure that when dice rolled into the tray from the tower that they would not simply bounce clean out of the tray. I was pleasantly rewarded with an unexpectedly satisfying sound that the dice make when they roll down the tower. The icing on the cake was my first single D20 roll that many of you may have seen by now, was a Nat 20!! Again, The Mimic mocked me!

As it turns out my mimic does not like to be criticized, and I’m a reviewer, that makes our relationship a tedious one. Because as soon as I found the first Flaw in my mimic, it threw a tantrum and broke on me. You see I had noticed that the coasters for The Mimic needed more magnets to keep ogre handed users like me from just destroying the top portion of The Mimic when they tried to disassemble it.

With just a few extra magnets, (I know it already has 200 magnets in it and I’m suggesting extra magnets!) The result of a few more magnets would provide the dice and pencil vaults a much stronger hold making it less likely to collapse as easily. I promptly reached out to Polymorph Crafts to point out this discovery. Polymorph kindly inform me as I was typing out my observation that they recently had discovered the exact same error and we’re already implementing a fix! Sadly, I was probably not going to be able to get the new coasters with the right magnets for my pre-release review copy.  My Mimic Chest didn’t like that answer and took it upon himself the break his carry strap tossing a bad rivet.

The Polymorph Crafts Team was quick to Send me out a new strap and since they needed to send me a strap they tossed in the improved coasters with the magnet fix as well! A few days later the straps and coaster arrived, I snapped the new coasters into place in my Mimic and at that point, everything changed. Gone were the mocking collapsing into pieces when I would try and pick it up. With my new well behaved Mimic in hand I decided it was time to take it to the FLGS for everyone to get a look at. While there the Mimic behaved PERFECTLY! 8 out of 8 times total strangers would take his straps off and full break him down and put him back together. Gone were the explosions of wooden bits everywhere. My Mimic was a whole new MIMIC!!

My Thoughts

Right out of the gate I will say this The Mimic Chest is impressive, I mean it’s a box held together with 200 magnets it’s hard not to be impressed by that! Initially, when I first opened up the box and began to use it I was very frustrated with this product. I think that fate may have intervened for both Polymorph Crafts and Runkle plays games in the fact that the rivet on my case broke. Providing the opportunity for me to get a new strap and them to send me the new coaster. Because of this simple little coaster is the linchpin in the entire product in my opinion.

The Mimic Chest pre-updated coaster was a fragile pile of Lincoln logs waiting to explode at the first chance that you would bump the magnets out of position. Post adjustments, it is a far superior far sturdier product allowing you to even grasp the top of the chest and slightly twist and remove all of the vaults at once intact, a feat that before that change would have sent wood flying in every direction.

The Vaults

The mimic chest comes with 5 vaults, three dice, and two pens. The dice vaults are bored with 7 dice slots. The pencil vault can hold four Staedtler dry erase markers or 5 mechanical pencils comfortably inside. Each of the vaults comes with a placard that has two grooves cut in it for cards. They do the job very nice job as card stands. When not in use as part of the mimic they the placard and the vaults can be merged to form a Nifty little card rack.

img_3231-1

The Coaster

The coaster is two pieces of wood snap together with two magnets on the inside and 10 magnets on the outside, when it’s on the box it’s these five magnets that form the arch support for the dice vault. Now I’m not a master woodworker but I am friends with a few. I know that the polymorph craft Team says you can use the coaster for your drinks. They assure me that the 5 layer laminate plywood plus the stain layers and the varnish that they will be using will be enough to protect your coaster.

img_3235-1

I’m not going to say they are wrong as I do not have any woodworking skills. I will strongly say that personally, I will never put a drink on my coaster nor would I suggest you do this either. This product will cost you too much money to take the risk of even a minor amount of warpage unseating your magnets properly and ruining your box I just can’t agree with them on this.

NOTE: Since I do have a “Spare” coaster I have thought that I might do a bit of a stress test with it and see how it holds up to drinks.

The Dice Tower & Tray

The Dice Tower assembles with the satisfying feel and it locks onto your tray with magnets. I rolled handfuls of dice down the Tower with no unseating of the magnets. The tray is an excellent rolling bed and I never had any dice hop out of the box when rolled down the tower.

The Strap

What can I say Polymorph Crafts are woodworkers, not leatherworkers, but they are learning. Personally, my strap did break while my box was empty. My mimic chest had a thicker leather strap that was riveted and the rivets did not seat properly resulting in blown rivets because of the thickness of the strap. Polymorph Crafts informed me that it is not the normal strap they use and promptly sent me out a new one. Since the arrival of this strap, I have put nearly 5 lbs of things in my Mimic and he has taken it like a champ.

All Things Considered, if you put any amount of stuff in this box, pick it up by the strap but I would carry it by the bottom of the box as the strap is not secured to the mimic so much as it is just wrapped around your mimic. There is some slight shifting when you try to walk around just holding it by the strap. For safety’s sake and your Mimics health hold it from the bottom if you have to carry it anywhere.

img_3143-1


The Wood & Magnets

The Mimic will have two types of wood, the standard Mimic will be crafted from high grade 5 layer plywood quarter inch thick with three layers of stain three layers of varnish. This is the Mimic that I have and the plywood is quite sturdy. (Above talking about it falling to pieces was not a joke) The premium mimic will be made of solid Woods like Walnut, Maple, and others and I wish I could have seen how sharp that product would have looked.

22449687_1583103235082293_8454182935022616801_n

Sadly I can’t give you a full opinion on how the finished basic mimic will look because the finished Kickstarter Mimic will be dipped in stain and varnish and have multiple layers of each. Where my pre-release Kickstarter was made to get to me quickly for review and only had one layer of each brushed onto it. Resulting in a different appearance than what will be delivered to backers. I can say this, I know that the product backers will receive will be better than my preview box.

Functionality

At the end of the day, there is only one question it all comes down to.

“Is The Mimic Chest functional?”

When I showed it to board gamers, they liked it but many of them said they couldn’t see using all of its features for any one thing. But they could see using all of its features for different things.

When I showed it to card gamers I got much the same reaction as they felt they could only use the vaults and the placards and nothing else.

When I showed it to the miniature Gamers there was interest but they were concerned where they would put their figures to keep them from falling around in the box. Sadly I didn’t have a Hero vaults to show them.

When I showed it to role-playing gamers, it was very well-received. With only comments that it was too small to put books and maps inside being their only criticism. Many wished that you could not put everything you needed for a game in the box.

So I decided to tackle that opinion and see if they were in fact right. Now I will be the first one to tell you, a book will never fit in here. Nor will you fit a large tablet inside, but it does fit a Kindle and D&D Beyond works well with a Kindle. It’s also worth noting that later this year wizard of the coast is putting out a Kindle tablet specifically for Dungeons & Dragons oddly enough.

So I grabbed up my Kindle and a bunch of role-playing products and I stuffed 5 lb of stuff inside this box! Enough for a full 4-player game and everything that the players would need as well the GM’s things. I packed in it 5 sets of dice, 5 mechanical pencils, Dry Erase Markers, A pocket fold up Maps a dozen or so dry erase cards! I also fit inside Mini figures cards of numerous variations. The Kindle as well as a stand for it and a portable battery pack with charge cord. In short everything, you would need for a game night.

So is it functional? Absolutely.

Con’s

Interestingly enough, when I started this review the cons were more about the mimic chests functionality. But these things were addressed in a brief back and forth chat with the creators. Leaving The Mimic Chests only real flaws to come forward after its structure was proven sound.

There’s is only one real thing that the mimic suffers from, and that’s it size. it’s big it’s bulky but it lacks the dimensions to hold larger gaming products that the role-playing gamer would want to take with him to game night. The Kindles a nice tablet but it’s not a great gaming tablet. The iPad Mini makes a far better gaming tablet and it’s only slightly bigger.

The mimic is also barely too small to fit Game Mastery card maps fit inside. This slight tweak would have made it a perfect case for a GM on-the-go had it been a hair bigger. Game Mastery Maps fitting in the Mimic would have provided a huge library of options for the box. That said if you are a theater of the mind group the lack of a Map is of no real issue to your group.

Lastly, because the case can still collapse if you grab it wrong and fall apart, I wouldn’t recommend storing a tablet in it unless you are very careful and put the tablet glass side down definitely.

Runkles Ranking

This ranking was not an easy one for me to come too. I had to take several things into account that I don’t normally consider during a review. In the past, with other products, I usually sent the premium version of the product to get a full idea of just what the finished product will look like. In, this situation I got a Mimic they said was a 93% complete product. That’s okay yet, in the end, it affects my rating potentially because I don’t have that last 10% for me to see in my hands. Often I am given things that are closer to 99% of the final version for review.

But it’s not all that bad because I got to see the customer service side of the company while I was dealing with issues that arose like the strap and the coaster. Their speedy response and willingness to pay attention to feedback overall boosted my opinion of the company greatly.

So taking those things into account my ranking for Runkle plays games review of The Mimic Chest is only an 11.

Remember a ranking of a 11 is Average. My Ranking List can be found HERE. The Mimic is unique, and it does what they say it does, the product has a ton of potential when you take into account the Hero Vaults. I was not given Hero Vaults to sample so I can not count for them in my review.

NOTE: The new Coaster weighed heavily in this decision. Had I finished this review with the coasters that were given to me at first I would have only given the Mimic a Ranking of a 8 at most. 

The factors that hold me down from giving the Mimic a higher rating of maybe a 14 or more are the following.  In my eyes is due to size, the unfinished state of the product and the choice of laminated plywood. The plywood is excellent but it’s just not Heirloom woods. Understandably this was done to keep costs down and make it a product more accessible. Remember in several attempts to just HANDLE the Mimic it fell apart in my hands.  Often nearly EXPLODED into pieces.

I am fairly certain that many people that back this product will probably feel that the Mimic is at least a 16 or 16 if they purchase the premium woods. Understandably this will be due to the fact that I know the finished product will be superior to what I have in front of me right now. So I can only base my rating on a sample that is NOT production ready.

I’m proud and honored that I had the opportunity to be one of 12 people to give The Mimic chest by Polymorph Crafts a review.

You can find them in The Mimic Chest on Kickstarter right now. They were fully funded Kickstarter day one! Go take a look at it, follow it, and adopt one.

Until next time gamers!

You can find their project on KS here! Let them know I sent you!

The Mimic Chest Kickstarter

Getting Back to Normal…

back-to-normal-500x185

Hello there everyone, the more things change the more they stay the same. Last  year around this time I took a big break from the blog because of the terrible flooding in the area that had occurred. My FLGS was devastated in this flood, as were many other businesses in the region. But unlike big box companies FLGS often live and die by their gaming patrons. These days being out of operation for a week, two weeks or more.. for many stores is a death sentence. For those that do get their doors open. They are faced with overcoming the tremendous loss in stock. But the gaming community came out in force then to help lift the store back up and get gaming returning to normal in our community in just a few days.

Fast forward 12 months and enter last week’s hurricane. Everyone including the owners knew the waters were coming. It was not a question of will the store flood as much as how bad will it flood. As well as had enough precautions been taken to minimize any damage once the waters receded. Alas, the waters were higher than last year. Last year it was called the 100-year flood. Hurricane Matthew hit and remained all the way through not one high tide but two. The storm surge was considerable. The rain didn’t stop, and when it was calm enough to return to check how the storm had withstood the elements. Let’s just say what you all are thinking. Water and our hobbies are not compatible.

(The First photo is a view from the parking lot of the store. The second shot is facing back at the store… The last two were of the neighboring malls parking lot.) I will spare you the photos of the game store itself.

Yet this is not a blog about the damage that the store sustained. This is a blog how proud I am to see my fellow gamers come out in force to help one of their local stores. Before the water had fully receded the local gaming community arrived to lend a hand or a dollar where they were needed or could. Sorting damage product from that which survived they set to the task of assisting the owners in the recovery of their beloved FLGS. Gamers pitched in to help their game store and it was inspiring. I am proud to be a part of this gaming community and prouder to share this little story.

Today is Wednesday the waters are gone. Since Monday the stores has been open. Less than a week ago the front of the store looked like the above photos. Yet all signs point to Friday Night Magic happening without missing a beat. That’s a pretty great community of gamers and I am proud to be a part of it. That store is The Green Dragon, it is our store. Things are getting back to normal.

 

 

 

 

Finding Inspiration & Note Taking.

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of note taking at the table as a game master. For years I did not take notes. I just ran my games and a day or two later I would sit down and pencil in the high points mentally and carry on with my game. I am not sure if it was my youth that kept me sharper or that we were gaming nightly, Likely a combination of both. As I became more experienced, older and game far less frequently over the years I have come to understand the importance of note taking.

I am not suggesting that you should be running game with your head down scribbling away at every little thing that your players are saying or doing. I am talking about jotting things down in shorthand or recording your session and going back to the audio later to take notes. I know some GMs that record their games and go back over their sessions later. Myself I have never done this.  I do take more and more shorthand notes during my session. One thing that you will quickly begin to realize after a little bit of doing this is that your players will provide you with tons of thoughts and content for you to expand on between games.

Personally these days I take more and more shorthand notes during my session. One thing that you will quickly begin to realize after a little bit of doing this is that your players will provide you with tons of thoughts and content for you to expand on between games. Taking notes is also extremely helpful when your party takes that inevitable hard right turn off the rails of your planned storyline.

So as I said, I am not encouraging you to go into a ton of detail. Actually, I am suggesting that you to write as little as possible so that you can easily maintain focus on the game you are running. So only focus on what is Important. So what is Important.

  • Names, Race, Disposition/Connection to party or players.
  • Locations of discovered interest to detail later.
  • Game Notes from players players
  • Random stuff

Here is an example of my own notes from my recent Star Wars FFG game. Before the start of the game, I knew my players would meet the crew of a starship that might be their way off the planet. But I also know my players may have found other ways off worlds so my notes looked like this before the start of game.

Ship Hanger
Cs Comet Light Freighter.
Captian Zhane Human.
Crew
Twilek
Gamorian
Ithorian
Note: Ship Shields down from Imp Encounter

Starward Light Freighter
Captian Drall the parts dealer
Crew
none

Nebula Light Freighter
Captian Vance Yanish
Crew
None
Note: On Safari

I knew what was going to go on that night that my players were going to HAVE to get off the world. So I penned in a few ships that were in the port and left it at that. Because I had no idea what ship they were going to take. In the end, the way the story unfolded they took a quick shine to the Comets crew for being shady about their damage shields and that was the ship they ended up taking off the world. Minus the crew that came down with a bad case of Imperial Blaster fire.

After that session even with the crew dead, I detailed the crew a bit since they are part of the history of the vessel. Also, this might come back to haunt the players. So my notes from before became:

Ship Hanger
Cs Comet Light Freighter.
Captian Zhane Ordo Human Spice Dealer/Smuggler. 
( one paragraph of backstory)
+3 contacts Names/Planet they reside
Crew
Jae Yovv Twilek Starship Tech
( one paragraph of backstory)
+3 contacts Names/Planet they reside
Gralbacc Gamorian *classified*
( one paragraph of backstory)
+3 contacts Names/Planet they reside
Forrannnish Ithorian Scout
( one paragraph of backstory)
+3 contacts Names/Planet they reside

Note: Ship Shields down from Imp Encounter
2 paragraphs on the history of the ship. Because it will be with the players for a long time.

Now just from my expanded notes on the ship alone I can gather tons of side quests and options as the players maybe seek out the contacts of the former crew while they try and make contacts of their own.

Now if I were running a game and my players ran off the rails and into any generic location I would not take the time to make a note of it. It is unlikely your players will care about the power fixture salesman ten min let a lot ten sessions from now. Don’t waste your time detailing him.

NPC’s that I will note down often are in places I had not expected my players to arrive at or I had not planned to introduce yet. Ie The Sherif, A Mayor or anyone in a position of power. If the players do this I jot down something like this.

Alex Gateway Sherif, Landover.
Walks with a limp.
Players got on his nerves.

This is enough to let me remember him between games and fill out more detail about him when I need to. Or play him as is when the group revisits him out of the blue in 6 sessions for their own reasons. Other notes I might make might be.

PLOT
PC’s Suspect Sherif ?

In this case, it is a short side note to remind me to think on away from the table. Like I said your players will hand you Tons of plot ideas if you just take a moment to listen as well as write them down.

So all this is good but where will you put your notes or write them down on ? Pen and Paper this works fine but at the game table, I find that Index cards are the best for a quick note. That or either Evernote or OneNote. Personal I use a combination of Onenote and Index cards. The nice thing about Evernote and OneNote is that both of these products can store your notes on the cloud and you can even check them from your phone. Giving you the ability to look over your game ideas from your phone.

 

#RPGaDay2016 Day 6 Most amazing thing a game group did for their community​?

rpgaday2016

Most Amazing thing a game group did for their community?

In the case of this question, I am going to tell you a story about a game Convention. I know your thinking wait ? But that is not the question it is a what did a game GROUP do for their community.

Again I will be telling you about a game Convention. That game convention would be Storm-Con. Storm-Con was a small game con held for three days each year in Charleston SC. Sadly it is no longer and active convention in our area. But what did this convention do for the community that makes it the answer to today’says question?

Before Storm Con was a convention it was a much smaller gathering of gamers that would meet in park recreation centers and host mini-conventions for the gamers of Charleston. The goal was very simple, bring gamers together from all over the city with the intent to play games and help out charity. We called it Gathering in the Park.

Gathering in the Park proved a huge success, by the third Gathering it was obvious that we were outgrowing our Mini-Convention status and we made the move to a full-fledged convention. Along the way, we were able to bring more gamers together. Creating a stronger community and having fun and giving to charity the entire time.

At our last convention, we raised nearly a thousand dollars with our charity auction and brought 400+ gamer’s together for three days of fun and games. Sadly, due to prices hikes of the areas hotel space we were forced to close our doors. In the time that we had at least.
We redefined gaming in our area, as well as did a lot of good while doing it along the way.

So to answer the question, What is the most Amazing thing a game group did for their community ?  They came together for 4 years to give to charity and spread the joy of gaming. 1 as gathering in the park and 3 as Storm Con. And that Game Group was each and EVERY gamer in Charleston SC that helped make it happen!

Cypher Card Creator! Live.

Well if you have followed my blog for any time at all you know that I have been making cypher and artifacts on cards for a few months now with magic card creator programs. Well now Monte Cook Games has launched their DTPRG  Cypher Card Creator.

Much in the vein of the Pathfinder card creator they have made a card creation program so that you can make your own cyphers and either keep the collection private or put it up for sale. Pretty sweet news for players that have put together their own collection of cards up until now.

The best part is you can print on demand these cards for 25 cents and they will ship you your card to slip it right in your deck! You can also browse other cards and purchase them as well. If you have some cyphers that you would rather not share you still use this program and opt not to share them with the public.

Note that if you make a card it is property of MCG IP so if you make a card and you want to keep them for yourself you are going to need to continue using other programs to make your cards. But if you are fine sharing your idea for a cypher with the world. For a quarter. Then this is a cool little tool for you.

I myself thought it was pretty cool so here ya go. RunklePlaysGames first DTRPG product is now up for sale. If ya like it give me a quarter. I will also gladly take a like and a share or re-tweet or a +1 as well honestly.

My first Cypher can be found HERE

 In my haste I forgot a link to the card creator page you can find it here Custom Card Creator

Runkle’s Resolutions 2016

So most everyone does it and more often than not everyone fails to end up sticking with it. More often than not we simply forget what our resolutions were. The good thing about doing Blog Resolutions is that It is much easier to keep track and remember them! As my blog is moving into my third year I decided to finally break down and set a few goals for my blog.  I looked back and to my surprise I came to realize that I have never done any resolutions in my first two years I was up and running.

So I was not sure just how may Resolutions I wanted to take on. So I decided to make one Resolution for each they years I have blogged. After all I need to make up for having skipped them in the past why not!

1st
My first resolution will be to do 52 blogs this coming year. One a week is pretty easy. I have hit that mark for the last two years. I will be shooting for 52 Feature style blog entries. That will make this one considerably tougher. But Hey what is a Resolution if I can not keep with the tradition that about 70% of resolutions

2nd
Second will be to do my very best to at least Double the number of Interviews I did on my blog in the last year. So that will bring me up to 4 interviews. 1 per quarter sounds acceptable.

3rd
My Third and final resolution is more personal note. I have seen for a little over two years now that G+ is a great platform for bloggers and gamer’s as a whole. I want to bring my presence to this platform as well. I focused on Twitter last year and I drew several hundred followers. I enjoy Twitter now then I ever expected to enjoy It. I have no doubts that G+ will make my love for gaming and blogging about gaming an even richer experience.

 

Challenge

So my great friend and fellow blogger over at Rolling Boxcars has challenged me to blog more about OSR & Indy products. I accept!