Sunday, March 17, 2013

RPGing Returns

For the last day of March Break, we drove out to some friends in the west end of the city to visit and to do some good old fashioned role playing. The game in question was Marvel Superheroes. There were five of us playing, not counting the game master. My daughter and I created characters with the help of our friend MP (the GM). The others had played together previously so they used their campaign characters. I was tempted to return to a previous character I had played in another superhero RPG, but instead I chose to go with a new concept.

The character I'm playing (yes, you can run away screaming at this point if you hate hearing people talk about their game characters) is a 14 year old with the powers of immortality and affliction. She has the ability of removing diseases from one person and transferring them to another. Her primary motivation is vengeance. Her back story is that she was an apprentice to a healer in medieval Europe with unique skills she could apply via touch. She was prevented by applying these skills to her dying mother by the main authority of the town/village where she lived. Her mother died and in her grief, she transferred the pox (or unspecified disease) to the leader. He in turn cursed her to outlive all those that she cared about. I can't recall all her stats (as MP kept my character sheet). She's a bit dark with a hint of villainy but it gives me a chance to explore my own hangups about death as well as play a very interesting character.

Our first adventure as a group of five involved a fairy bounty hunter trying to seize a garage owner (who happens to be an ogre in disguise). It was a lot of fun, especially for my daughter. This game uses cards instead of dice and it made combat quick and unpredictable. We hope to play again, although it is tricky to organize everyone's schedules. Wish us luck (or at least a favourable dice roll / card draw).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Minecraft March Break LAN Party & "Rare Penguins"

The marvelous leader of our Minecraft server organized an online gathering today so many people could time their play and be on simultaneously. We must have had about a dozen people on together. Here are some of the screen shots I took today.

Phisa, Terra, and Emily at the Magma Cafe

Jason and Jack check out the nether's hottest restaurant
It's fun to have new players on. We had massive PvP battles involving multiple people. Other people showed some of the things they were building. Still others made colossal explosions. Everyone could do their own thing, choose their own adventure. The server was busy and it was great.
Some more spectacular builds

The funny thing is that there are times when some of the Grims yearn to return to a time before our server was so developed and there were so many players. Terragrim describes it as the desire to be a "Rare Penguin". This Club Penguin allusion delights in being one of a select few at the very beginning of something new and different. It might not feel as special when it's shared.

Hubby has seen this phenomenon in other games. He says he can relate to game nostalgia - fondly recalling how difficult it was to do certain things and the sense of awe and wonder when certain areas were discovered. It's hard to recapture that feeling later on.

This is not to say we don't enjoy having new members - we encourage it; it makes game play fresh and new - but I know I look back on how tough it was for me to make my first house and I miss it a bit. Maybe these are two separate desires. I'm not sure. I don't think I'm articulating all the nuances that the "Rare Penguin" wish can suggest, but it's late as I write this, and there's always another blog post to try and clarify.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Having Mom on your Mario Kart team

It's March Break so there has been much gaming going on in the house. We decided a couple of days ago to play 4-person Mario Kart. We wanted to start off with playing in 2 vs 2 teams, but there was a slight problem - who would take Mom on their team? Dad, daughter and son are pretty solid players; they almost always win the top three spots when they play together. Mom, on the other hand, and to put it mildly, stinks. I never finish the Rainbow Road track and I often bang into walls while driving, leaving me near the bottom in the rankings. Dad took pity on Mom and so we had our groups. I was a bit worried that I'd mess things up for my team because my reputation as a poor player is well-earned. Well, guess what? We won! I actually came in 4th for one of the tracks and avoided coming in 12th for another round and the parents beat the kids by 10 points. It must have been a happy fluke because we played 2 more games together (everyone for themselves and everyone on the same team) and I came in last both times, failing to earn a single point for the final group team.

Other popular games this March Break among the kids have been Skylanders, Paper Mario, Minecraft, and Adventure Time. I bought Just Dance Kids 2 - more my speed - but I'll savour my unusual victory in Mario Kart for the rest of the vacation.

Monday, March 11, 2013

3 Generations Play

My parents came over for a belated birthday visit for me and after some monkeying around between my son and my father, the boy brought down his Nerf swords for one of our battle games.

Way back in 2011, I wrote a blog post that you can see here about our Nerf sword game rules.
Now that we had a new player in our midst, we had to explain how the game was to proceed.
It was kind of neat to have three generations playing our invented game together.
I noticed a few interesting things.

1) My dad cheated.
One of the key rules is that if you are hit in the torso, you automatically die. I hit my father with the sword in the side and he refused to die. He claimed that it was just a flesh wound and that he would be able to carry on. Yeah, right Pop Pop!

2) My dad needed a refresher on action movie classic fight lines.
When we told my dad that he needed to utter a catch phrase before we entered into battle, his sentence was "I will cut off your legs and throw you straight into hell." I don't remember that being in any of the movies I've seen.

3) Sometimes it's cool to change the rules depending on the players.
We learned pretty quickly that my dad was not going to play by the "house rules" so we had to adapt, and adapt quickly. Grabbing the sword blade and pretending to give body shots were now allowable maneuvers. My husband got into the fray by bringing down the Nerf guns and acting as a sniper, attacking anyone in his path. This was no longer the medieval version of battle with its decorum and pomp; this was guerrilla warfare - messy and wild and unpredictable. And fun.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

iPad Gaming Art

I was deleting unneeded files from the iPad when I found some illustrations that the kids made using one of the drawing apps. Here are some of the game-themed pictures.

Ninjini from Skylanders

Q-Bert - my kids discovered him from the movie "Wreck It Ralph"

A gelatinous cube from D&D is about to jump on a hapless foe