Monday Muse; Learn from Failure.


I can boldly say after 30 plus years of running games that I am pretty good at it. I can even go so far as to say that I have had other players and game masters ask me things like.

I wish I was as good a storyteller as you?


I don’t try because I could never be as good as you.  

I absolutely hate hearing that from new players. It might seem like a compliment but it is a self-defeating statement. When I see a new young gamer make this assumption I never say thank you. I remind them that we all have to start somewhere, and when I started there were plenty of bad games that I ran. Yet instead of giving up because I was bad I walked away determined to do better next time. And the next time as well as the next time. Each time Learning a little something from my failures until failure became something that happened more and more rarely.

I remind them that we all have to start somewhere, and when I started there were plenty of bad games that I ran. Yet instead of giving up because I was bad I walked away determined to do better next time. And the next time as well as the next time. Each time Learning a little something from my failures until failure became something that happened more and more rarely.

It is only by making mistakes can we learn from them and improve. So if you are too doubtful or scared to take that first step then you will never make a mistake to improve on. With the top two definitions of failure being an example here. You can either chose to try and fail or never try at all. If you never attempt to run a game you will never know if you will or will not be good at it. If you try and fail at least you have laid the groundwork to set the bar for improvement.

1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success:

“His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.”

nonperformance of something due, required, or expected:

“A failure to do what one has promised; a failure to appear.”

So the only time as a Game Master you fail is when you do not learn from your failure. TPK your party? Better learn your encounters better. Forgot parts of your story? Better learn better not taking skills and so on.

Here are a few golden tips for a starting GM to remember when he wants to compare himself to another Game Master.

  1. Have fun 
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Mistakes Happen
  4. Learn From Your Mistakes
  5. If you make a Mistake & No One Notices… Don’t Worry About IT! 

In the end, as long as you and your players are having fun, you are winning at being a Dungeon Master. Give it time you will only get better.

Until next time!

Munchkin Gloom Review


Recently I picked up a copy of Atlas Games, Munchkin Gloom! STOP, before you read any further! This is NOT a Munchkin game. I know the box is sized like any other munchkin game, and the art style is just like any other Munchkin game. BUT it is a GLOOM GAME! With a Munchkin theme! Surprise!

I bring this up because in my excitement at seeing the box. For a moment thought that I had, in fact, purchased a Gloom Munchkin game not the other way around. From what I have since heard on the subject I am not alone in nearly making this mistake. I have also learned that a few people I have spoken with did, in fact, make that very mistake. Having assumed it was another munchkin clone. Not this time friends, this is a GLOOM clone, with a Munchkin skin. Best of all, I think that it more that succeeds in doing the job of feeling both like Gloom and Munchkin wonderfully!

So what is Munchkin Gloom you ask? Well in munchkin Gloom, you are playing an adventuring party of heroes and telling stories about their heroic adventures. Followed closely by their eventual but inevitable demise in the standard gloom storyteller glory! The players go around the table telling tales of each of our hero’s rise and fall and eventual untimely painful demise. The player in the end with the most tormented miserable party measured by Self-worth is the winner!

As I mentioned earlier the artwork really feels like Munchkin. That pure munchkin look and feel is beautiful in its very munchkin way. John Kovalic’s art style is unmistakable and it is nice to see that they took full advantage of his work in this project. The Gloom treatment of transparent cards is still here. Additionally, the transparent cards really make John’s artwork pop! Overall it is just a darn good looking game.

Gameplay wise it is 100% Gloom, But Munchkin was not forgotten at the artwork alone. The flavor of Munchkin was deeply embraced to keep you feeling of the (Munchkinvers) setting? Maybe it is the gamer in me, but I found it easier to really get into Munchkin Gloom stories. Maybe that is the Evil GM in me coming to the surface or the many years of telling stories with my fellow gamers about the trials and tribulations of other adventuring parties in games of old.

One of the reasons why I think this is such a wonderful merging of two products. Most Munchkin players will tell you that they already roleplay and do a bit of storytelling when they play. As gamers, we just tend to embrace the moment. In Gloom that is the whole point of the game!

Munchkin Gloom encourages storytelling with each card play! With no “curse” aspect in Gloom but being a core theme of Munchkin. Gloom relies on the use of its event cards to help give that backstabbing underhanded feel present in Munchkin.

Munchkin’s style of humor is on full display with cards like “Crossed the GM, Grappled with a Gummy Golem, Paid for the Pizza and Failed to Kick in the Door”. Between the art and the well thought out cards and Events. At least for a short time, you may find that you much prefer telling stories about Munchkin and their downwards spiral instead of racing to level 10!

Gameplay is quick and simple, Each player starts with a number of adventures depending on the number of players and the length of the game that everyone would like to play. After the players are selected each play draws five cards and play begins. You take two actions on your turn.


  1. Play an Event for its effect and discard it.
  2. Play a Modifier on a Character, and leave it there (Yours or other players)
  3. Play and Untimely Death card on a Character with negative Self-worth, as your first action only. You may play this on your or another player’s character
  4. Discard your entire Hand
  5. Pass your action by doing nothing

After you have passed or taken two actions. you draw back up to 5 cards hand size unless you have a card that says otherwise.

Overall this is a fun game of storytelling and gloomy silly endings that should be fun for everyone around the table. Fans of Munchkin I am fairly certain will enjoy this game as munchkin fans are use to cursing and backstabbing one and other for the sake of humor and fun.

If you are not a fan stick it to your partner kind of games this might not be the game for you. Also if you are not into sprinkling some story and roleplay into your games you might also consider avoiding Munchkin Gloom. Because much of Glooms charm comes from the crafting of the stories with the cards.

Have you played munchkin gloom yet? Let me know what your thoughts were about the game? Were you one of the gamers out there that thought they were picking up a munchkin game? If so did you end up liking Gloom as well? I  would love to hear from you!

D20 #16-19Runkle Plays Games gives Munchkin Gloom a solid 16! I felt I could not go higher because of the need to story tell to really make gloom shine. As well as the ingrained stick it to your nature of Munchkin is not for everyone either. Lastly the game play can be a touch long coming in at 60 min.

If you have good storytellers in your group and players that are okay with the competitive gameplay. Munchkin Gloom will likely rate much higher for you. In the right group, I can see this being an 18.

If you have not played it but are interested in giving it a try. Support my blog and pick it up from Amazon at no extra cost to you.

Gloom on Amazon







Monday Musings.

Just a short thought on freewriting this Monday.

Recently each time I have sat down to blog I have found myself with a flood of words nearly overwhelming me. Heck not nearly, outright completely overwhelming me. Leaving me in a state unable to print or put word to page

So Here we are again and I am trying a new writing technique. It is not one that I have ever done before but figured heck why not give it a shot. Instead of taking the time to pick a theme. This time, I sat down instead closed my eyes and attempted cleared my mind. Now let me tell you.. this is never an easy thing in my case.

Once I was Ready I just began to type. The words seemed to find their way the to the page much more easily. As crazy as it sounds I quickly began to notice that I was not overwhelmed like I had been in the past(literally minutes before). Now I let the muscle memory of my fingers roll along the keyboard and I just kept focus on what I was writing knowing that as messy as this post might get .. I could come back after in my free time and edit.

A few things that I noticed in the few min that It took me to do this

I wrote much faster. The longer I wrote a more focused on the topic I was able to become. mostly because I was not going back to self-edit nor was I distracted by other thoughts as I was forming the words for the article the way I normally did my blog posts.

I did not make as many errors as I had expected I would have made. Ironically I made much the same errors that I normally would in any of my blogs. I have heard some claim that you make fewer errors. This did not prove to be the case for me.

The thing that I was told when I first encountered the idea of trying this was that you would find your inner voice among the noise. Well, it seems to have worked. I became far calmer and the words flowed with ease once my eyes were shut and I had prepared for the blog write up.

Practical Ways to Write and Keep Writing — donnaclovis

Always on the lookout for good tips to share about all things storytelling and writing this is yet another nice tip to have in  your arsenal.


What do you like to read? What do you like to write? What writing style do you enjoy? How do you make time to write with a busy schedule? Usually, there is a connection between what you like to read and what you like to write. And it is best to keep several journals around […]

via Practical Ways to Write and Keep Writing — donnaclovis

Wild Tales — Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Not a gaming blog per say. BUT, so much of what is said here embodies why I am a Gamemaster! I also imagine that many of you that will read this as players or GM’s will fee much the same way!

Many of the points here also can be taken directly to heart as a Gamemaster. Strive to capture your environment and bring it to life for your players. Set the tone and the mood. Bring that world to life for your players!  This is our passion and we want to tell stories together. Don’t hold back get into it !

Storytelling in so many ways is a lost art. But at the Game table,we are masters of it. Many of us do it weekly. Embrace it. LOVE IT let the power of it flow through you and tell a damn good story!

Until next time enjoy and GAME ON !

Some stories are made for performance. Some tales need the feeling, the fire of life behind the words, spoken out loud and even worked along with movements. This is the theatre nerd coming out of me of course. But as a writer I do sometimes struggle with the difference between translating tales onto paper, and […]

via Wild Tales — Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Storytelling 101: The Protagonist, the Antagonist, and the Conflict

Simple to the point and a good weekend read for in your time before game. A quick primer on storytelling. The use of movie and iconic characters helps frame the examples well and I recommend giving it a look if you are getting ready to run a game this weekend !

by: Ian Blaylock When people talk about television and films today, usually they talk about how something looks, and how good the story was. In the age of the $200M+ blockbuster often times films may look really good, and use CGI, or other technical tricks to make a film really stand out, but without a […]

via Storytelling 101: The Protagonist, the Antagonist, and the Conflict — Enter the Cinema