Kosmos already brought us great Escape Rooms in a box, and this fall we'll be getting the Point-and-Click Adventure Game in a box! Each game is 1-4 player, re-playable adventure with huge theme and story. Watch our latest Get the Game episode to learn more, and pick up your copy at your FLGS when they release in September!
When you play games, what’s the most important thing to you? Winning the game? Being with friends? Destroying your enemies? Understanding every intricacy of the game? What if I told you that there is a theory out there that categorizes all gamers into four categories, easily connected to the four suits of playing cards? Achievers (Diamonds), Explorers (Spades), Socializers (Heart), and Killers (Club)?
Richard A. Bartle, a professional game design consultant specializing in online games, came up with this theory of players that you can read here (it’s long, but incredibly well thought-out). Long story short: different people value different things when playing games. He explains it as two dimensions of playing styles: action versus interaction, and world-oriented versus player-oriented. Which one are you?
You compete in tournaments at your FLGS. You don’t waste time with side missions. No matter what, you beat the game. In the dimension of playing styles, Diamonds favor action and world, so they want to be constantly completing tasks and working towards the game’s end. You play to win, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you play to beat your opponents. You just love a good challenge.
Suggested Games: Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North, Sierra West, Pandemic, PvP Card Games (Magic the Gathering, Godzilla, Dragon Ball Super)
You’re the one who figures out how to beat a game. Like, truly. You don’t beat a game to win, and you don’t beat a game to beat others, you beat a game because you have to know how it works. Spades want to dig to the bottom of it all. You love playing all kinds of games with different mechanics, because each game provides a new learning opportunity. Spades favor interaction rather than action, so it’s all about how each cog moves in a machine. You should be playing games with a lot of components and a lot of different ways to victory. And you’re going to find them all.
Suggested Games: Era: The Medieval Age, Cerebria, Time Chase, the Century trilogy, Food Chain Magnate
You love hanging out with friends. You’re probably the one hosting the game nights. You favor player interaction, new experiences, and just being around people. You’re the type of person who truly believes that as long as everyone has fun, you’re all winners. You should be playing games with a lot of interaction, like RPGs, bluffing games (as long as you’re not playing with Clubs), or games that provoke a lot of talking and laughs.
Suggested Games: Escape rooms in a box (Escape Tales, EXIT: The Game etc.), RPGs (D&D, Pathfinder, Overlight), Werewolf/Mafia, Codenames
You like bluffing games, deception games, and any other game that allows you to beat the people you’re playing with. You’ve been told on more than one occasion that you’re too competitive. Diamonds win because they want to beat the game, Clubs win because they enjoy defeating their opponents. You’re a perfect ally when its team vs team, but when it’s a battle royale, people tend to form an alliance against you before you wreck them all (which is why you’re the perfect traitor in a traitor mechanic game). You should be playing games with player elimination, but more than anything you should be playing with people who don’t mind this playstyle. It’s not worth ruining a friendship just for the victory.
Suggested Games: Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defense Against the Dark Arts, Decrypto, Munchkin, Imhotep: The Duel
So which suit are you? Are you a combo of two suits? Is this like knowing your Hogwarts house? Let us know in the comments!
Harry Potter fans, it's finally here! Now is your chance to choose your house, pick your pet, and duel on the table of the Great Hall! Anne sits down with Ross from The OP (formerly USAopoly) to learn all about Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle: Defence Against the Dark Arts, available now at your Friendly Local Game Store!
Active players, so far in this Player Character Spotlight series we’ve talked to people who have been gamers for a while. People who have made gaming a huge part of their lives and consider it part of who they are. But everyone has to start somewhere! Today we focus on someone who is fairly new to gaming. Morgan talks to us about her brief time in the gaming world, and how finding new ways to play both spikes her anxiety and helps her overcome it. It’s a wonderful reminder to reach out to people and invite them into this magnificent world of games.
RP: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into the gaming hobby?
MM: My name is Morgan, I work as a casting coordinator at a commercial casting company in New York City. I initially got into gaming because some friends of mine LOVED board games, but they had never really been my thing. To be fair, the only games I had really been exposed to were the standards: Clue, Monopoly, Life, etc. I don’t exactly remember the first game my friends and I all played together, but I remember the first one that piqued my interest: Pandemic. Fighting the zombie virus (I know it’s not really the zombie virus but that’s what they told me to get me into it) as my character traveled the globe! All of a sudden, I had risks, a story, goals! Board games were cool, and I was hooked.
RP: Do you wish you had gotten into gaming earlier or was that the right time?
MM: I started playing games when I was about 24. In some ways I think it was both too late, and the perfect time for me. Too late in the sense that if I had started gaming earlier in life, I may have had an easier time finding “my people,” but to be honest I wouldn’t have had the patience or brainpower to grasp some games. But at 24 I had more sense of self and was able to hold my own.
RP: What's your best memory around the gaming table?
MM: I’m cheating because there are two. One of the first games I recall being introduced to was Once Upon a Time. My friend was desperately trying to take over the storytelling. But he kept asking me repeatedly about the new Shakira video, “ya know the one where she is dancing in the cage, what IS that song called?” I then proclaimed, “oh she-wolf” and all of a sudden, he threw his card down on the table, “and just then a WOLF blocked the path.” I was simultaneously impressed and furious.
The other best memory is whenever my friends and I give voices to our Betrayal at House on the Hill characters. Hearing a thick Russian accent as Madame Zostra, Professor Longfellow having a Scottish brogue, even one player determining that Ox can only “turn left,” in a big oafish voice. All some of my best memories.
RP: It sounds like who you play with is just as important as what you play. Do you agree?
MM: I wholeheartedly agree. It’s important that whatever you’re playing, you have a group that is supportive of you. That sounds silly, but some games have some complex rules in place, and it can take a while to get them. If you’re not around a group you feel at ease with, AND you’re dealing with complicated gameplay? I feel like that could ruin someone’s fun.
RP: The doesn’t sound silly at all! That makes a lot of sense. It’s hard to learn a new game if you’re made to feel stupid. Are there any specific types of games you look to play or collect?
MM: The games I tend to play definitely fall into the horror category. My collection is small but dominated by zombies, ghosts, psychics, and a certain Vampire Slayer. My favorite game, always and forever, will be Betrayal House on the Hill. I LOVE it! I also bought the expansion pack, Widow’s Walk as soon as I could find it. This game feels like it was 100% MADE for me. I finally get to act out my fantasies of exploring an old, decrepit haunted house...yes really that is a fantasy of mine.
RP: How do you find people to play with?
MM: I have a group I know that whenever I see I can play with, but they are unfortunately scattered all along the east coast. As I’ve made more friends in the city, I strive to possibly do a “board game” day but I have this fear that I won’t understand game instructions and rules, so I tend to avoid new things. It’s a bad habit that I want to try to shatter. I think ultimately, I just need to take a plunge.
RP: I mean it’s easy to say that, but it’s definitely intimidating to actually do! But I feel like if you took that plunge you wouldn’t regret it. Do you have any plans to expand your gaming?
MM: At this point in my life, no. If we’re being honest, I suffered a big bout of depression in the last half of 2018 and have been using 2019 to get my mental health back under control. As my mental health grows steadier, I have been trying to return to things that bring me joy. Eventually, this will be games and finding a group who I feel comfortable with to play.
RP: Have you considered online play at all?
MM: It is something that I need to look into. There are always questions about online play that stop me. “Will it cost money? Will I find people to play with? If it does cost money, is it worth it?” etc. I keep letting those questions stop me and I ultimately need to just take the plunge. Stop being so afraid. I already conquered gaming in life, that is way harder than the internet!
RP: Yeah! Have you attended any game conventions/do you plan on attending any?
MM: I haven’t had the opportunity! The living costs of NYC are so high that I haven’t allowed myself to dream of going to conventions. Additionally, I have the worry that as a new gamer I wouldn’t be accepted at a con. People may find me tiresome or irksome with my questions and lack of knowledge. It is a feat I would not want to undergo alone.
RP: Do you think it’s easier for new, inexperienced, or anxious gamers to be invited in, rather than trying to join in?
MM: Absolutely. Given the time and place, I would definitely be more receptive to an invitation rather than trying to start something myself. I’m still battling that “No one wants me around,” anxiety. So my brain can’t fight back too much if I’m given the invite.
RP: It’s a reminder to all of us to be inclusive and understanding of new players. Last question, as someone new to gaming, do you have any advice for people looking to get started?
MM: My biggest advice is one I follow: find a game you find interesting. I believe it will make you 10 times more willing to sit there, listen, and learn, if you are passionate about the gameplay. Once you find the game that is perfect for you, you’re hooked. Don’t give up games all together after a few duds.
Also, play with people who are patient and understanding. I would not have gotten into games as much as I did if it hadn’t been for my friends who walked me through the rules and gameplay every step of the way. I now have a small collection of games, but each one I love and look forward to pulling out and playing when given the chance.
Active players, how did you start your gaming journey? Does Morgan’s story feel familiar to you? How do you invite new people to the table?
Teotihuacan: Late Pre-Classic Period is an expansion for the original Teotihuacan: City of Gods, adding in 5 new mix-and-match modules including a new temple, new characters, and even more complexity for the solo mode. Find it today at your FLGS!
Active Player Network was hard at work at Gen Con 2019. We learned why Gen Con is called The Best 4 Days in Gaming, and we're going to be bringing lots of new content to you! Check back on Wednesdays and Fridays for new Get the Game episodes.
Gen Con 2019 has come to a close, and with it comes an incredibly satisfying feeling of accomplishment for months of hard work by everyone on our Active Player team. We demoed games for thousands of people, we learned how to play new games, we played old favorites, we filmed 7 Get the Games, 4 Player Character Spotlights, and several features, we experimented with live streaming from the Con, and finally, we raised $2,277.25 for Child’s Play Charity! We also randomly selected our winner of the Mega Game Basket: Congratulations to Zac Crumpler! Active Players, you can still sign up for our mailing list if you haven’t already so that you can stay up-to-date on any future giveaways!
Thank you to everyone who came by booth #2535 (I feel like that number will never leave my head now) to play some games and chat with us. We demoed Catch the Moon, Tuki, Century: A New World, Men at Work, and Tokaido. We had representatives from Funforge there to demo the next game in the Tokaido line, Namiji. We had representatives from Bandai there to demo Dragon Ball Super, the Naruto Boruto card game, and the upcoming Godzilla card game due to release this fall! Almost 200 of you got our Pin Bazaar pineapple pins (we are so happy to see how many of you love pineapples!) You donated to our Roll 4 Child’s Play drive (more on that later). Seriously, that booth was full, from the moment the hall opened until the moment the hall closed every single day, and we are so happy and grateful to have met so many enthusiastic gamers and active players!
We are so excited to bring you all over 10 new episodes of various shows filmed right at our booth. We’ll have new Get the Game previews (including a sneak peek of Godzilla with game designer Ryan Miller, for those of you who couldn’t demo the game in person), we’ll have new Player Character Spotlight episodes (including some of the APN team!), as well as some other surprises and features as we go. Expect the first of the Get the Game episodes to start premiering this week, and as always let us know if there are any upcoming games you’re interested in seeing us cover!
Roll 4 Child’s Play
If you follow us on social media (and if you don’t, you should), you’ll remember that a lot of our posts were focused on this incredible charity drive that we did. We raised $2,277.25 for Child’s Play Charity through online donations, donations at the convention, and donation matching from Mindclash Games and Metallic Dice Games. If you donated at the Con, you also got to collect our limited edition Active Player Network pineapple D6’s. Two lucky people who took advantage of our #roll4childsplay giveaway won a set of dice and a dice tray from Metallic Dice Games as well! If you got some of our pineapple dice show us some pictures! We’re also hoping to do a future giveaway with these dice for those who could not/cannot attend a convention so if that sounds like you, let us know! Do you want a chance to win these D6’s? Should we continue the line and offer a D20 next? We love ideas and suggestions.
Did you attend Gen Con 2019? Did you stop by the booth at all? Let us know all of your awesome Con stories! Next stop: PAX Unplugged!
Be the one with the most prosperous domain, in the very first roll-and-build game by legendary designer Matt Leacock! Era: The Medieval Age by Eggertspiele is a 1-4 player game about strategically building your own domain, while making sure that your opponents experience some "natural" disasters. Available now at your Friendly Local Game Store!
It’s Gen Con Week! It’s finally here! By now you know we’ll be at booth 2535, that we’ll be filming new episodes of our shows, and that we’ll be demoing a whole bunch of games. If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll even know that some of these games will be on rotation because we just don’t have enough tables or demo staff to have every game available every day. We’ve been saying we’ll have a schedule for you, and here it is!
Tokaido and Namiji by Funforge. We will have representatives from Funforge there to demo both of these games. Namiji will not be available until the fall, so this is a great opportunity to learn a new game!
Catch the Moon by Bombyx. We will have this game available for demo and purchase all weekend.
Thursday: Azul by Next Move Games
Friday: Tuki by Next Move Games
Saturday: Century: A New World by Plan B Games
Sunday: Men at Work by Pretzel Games
Thursday: Naruto Boruto Card Game by Bandai
Friday: Dragon Ball Super Series 7 by Bandai
Saturday: Godzilla Card Game by Bandai
Sunday: Dragon Ball Super Series 7 by Bandai.
We will have representatives from Bandai here to demo these games.
We are, of course, hoping you’ll stop by and visit us every day of Gen Con, but does this demo schedule make you prioritize certain days? Let us know, and we’ll see you soon!
Alright everyone! Every day is another day closer to Gen Con, and there is a LOT going on. We’re sure you have tons of plans and are trying to keep yourselves organized. To help you out, consider this our master list of everything that APN is doing at Gen Con. Save it, bookmark it, whatever you need to do. Just make sure you stop by and see us at booth 2535!
Demo Tables at booth 2535: APN will be demoing many games at our booth, and some will also be available for purchase. Learn more about Tokaido; Tuki, Azul, Century: A New World; Catch the Moon, Men at Work; Dragon Ball Super, Naruto Boruto, and Godzilla.
The schedule for what games will be demoed on which days can be found here!
Roll 4 Child’s Play: Our donation drive we are running to benefit Child’s Play Charity. You can donate in person or online. All the information, including more about Child’s Play, can be found here.
#Roll4ChildsPlay: If you donate to the charity in person, you can receive limited-edition APN d6’s, while supplies last. Take a photo or video of them on Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtag #Roll4ChildsPlay. The posts with the highest number of likes by the end of the convention will win a set of dice from Metallic Dice Games. Full post here.
Mega Game Basket Giveaway:Sign up for our mailing list to learn more about upcoming game releases, con attendance, and more. This can be done in person at booth 2535 or on our blog. More information (including what is in the basket) is here.
Adventures on the Show Floor: Anne and Risa will be making the rounds on the floor, playing games, chatting with people, and doing some Player Character Interviews. If you’d like to be considered for an interview please sign up here, and if you just want to hang out for a bit, make sure to keep an eye out and say hi!
Okay that should be it! What are you most excited about?
In exactly one week, our APN team will be en route to Gen Con, ready to bring you more entertainment, more content, and more games.
Today we want to focus on our Mega Game Basket Giveaway (giveaway giveaway giveaway)! Starting on August 1st, we will have a link open to sign up for our APN mailing list. Adding your email will get you notifications for upcoming games we’re excited about, conventions we’ll be attending, sneak peeks, and more. AND! If you sign up between August 1-4, you’ll be entered to win our Mega Game Basket, with over a dozen prizes!
Check out what you can win in alphabetical order:
From Brotherwise Games: Call to Adventure
From Child’s Play Charity: Child’s Play battery pack and water bottle
From Cryptozoic Games: DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth, Epic Spell Wars Deck-Building Game, and Spyfall Time Travel
From Gamelyn Games: Tiny Epic Defenders, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Tiny Epic Quest, Tiny Epic Western, and Tiny Epic Zombies
From Leder Games: Root
From Metallic Dice Games: Set of dice and dice tray
From Mind Clash Games: Cerebria
From Pandasaurus Games: Arraial, Dinosaur Island, and Machi Koro
From Portal Games: Empires of the North
This is a fantastic opportunity for people celebrating Gen Can’t as well! Even if you can’t make it to the con, you can still sign up for the mailing list and win all these prizes.
Are you planning on entering? What prize are you most excited about?
Our cup runneth over with games! Gen Con Demo Table Spotlight Week has turned into Gen Con Demo Table Spotlight Week And An Extra Day. Today we’re going to spotlight the three card games we’ll have in demo rotation: Dragon Ball Super, Naruto Boruto, and Godzilla!
We are incredibly lucky, in that we have been able to procure representatives from Bandai to demo all of these games, so you can literally learn from the best.
Dragon Ball Super – Bandai
This collectible card game launched in 2017 and has been insanely popular. There’s a free app to learn how to play, and if you’re already familiar there are booster packs coming out regularly. People play casually with friends or at FLGS’s, or competitively in tournaments. Check out the turnout we saw at Origins.
Series 7 releases August 2, which is day 2 of Gen Con. So come try it, and if you like it you can grab the newest series right away!
Naruto Boruto – Bandai
This card game released just a couple weeks ago, so it is still very new and being talked about a LOT. It utilizes an all-new gaming system called the Chrono Clash System, created by world-renowned designer Ryan Miller. It’s got a fun back-and-forth style turn bar system that’s dependent on the value number of the card you play. So you have to be strategic in what you play, because your higher power cards may push the turn bar far onto your opponent’s side and give them extra turns.
We got to chat with Ryan Miller, earlier this year, and you can watch that interview right here:
Godzilla – Bandai
So Naruto Boruto is getting a lot of talk because it’s so new. But the next iteration in the Chrono Clash System hasn’t even released yet. Godzilla is planned for a September release, but because we have Bandai representatives at our booth we’ll be able to demo this game and get you hooked so that you run right into your FLGS the day it releases.
If the Chrono Clash System has you intrigued but Godzilla is more your theme, make sure to check back with APN after Gen Con, because we’ll be talking to Ryan Miller again while we’re there.
Which of these three games are you most looking forward to trying?
Happy Friday, active players! Today we’re spotlighting 3 fantastic games we’ll be demoing during Gen Con at booth (say it with me) 2535! No time to waste on a snappy intro, let’s talk games!
Tuki -Next Move Games
Have you ever wanted to play Tetris with real blocks? Do you like games that require spatial awareness and puzzle-solving? If you answered yes, you’ll love Tuki.
Your goal is to be the fastest to build a Tukilik, a 3-D object that denotes certain meanings in the Inuit culture. Basically, you have to make the colored blocks match the drawing on the card, and you use the white snow pieces to help support the structure. What you roll on the die determines how you set up the card and how you’re allowed to build your Tukilik. If you’re curious what this looks like, we have a video of Anne and Emily playing.
Tuki is a game that you have to play at least once. It takes less than a minute to learn, and about a minute to play a round. And I can honestly say that every single person I have shown this game to said they would play it again. Come see us at Gen Con and play a round with us! (Maybe not me specifically, I have been known to knock a tower down if I’m losing)
Azul -Next Move Games
Do you like games that require strategy? Do you like making moves that screw over your friends, and sometimes yourself in the process? Then you should stop by and try Azul.
In this game,you’re collecting different types of (beautifully designed) tiles trying to create sets. You are all pulling from the same pile set, so turn order is key, as is what group of tiles you choose. The theming is simple, and I’ve mentioned before that it’s a great game for people who have tried super easy board games and are ready to try something with a bit more meat.
This game requires a lot of strategy, and you get better the more you play. But luckily, we’ll have it available for purchase as well as demo.
Century: A New World- Plan B Games
Do you like worker placement games? Do you like the other Century games? Then Century: A New World is the game you should come try!
The final installment in the Century series debuted at Origins and sold out in the early hours of day 2. In this game, you’re placing workers and cubes, and then swapping them out to upgrade to better cubes to earn victory points. Century: A New World is an excellent introduction to the worker placement genre, and as Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower said, it’s easy to learn and turns go by quickly, so you are constantly engaged.
All three of these games will be in rotation at our booth, and that schedule should be released next week. So stay tuned, check back, and let us know which games you’re most looking forward to!
Active players, we have so many games that we’re going to be demoing at Gen Con (at booth 2535, are you tired of us saying that yet?) that we’re going to have to spotlight multiple games in the same post.
Today we’re focusing on Catch the Moon and Men at Work!
Catch the Moon- Bombyx Games
This one is incredibly simple to learn: Your goal is to stack a bunch of ladders to reach the moon, but you don’t want to knock the ladders over or the moon will cry because of your clumsiness. On your turn, you will add a ladder to the stack. You roll the die and it shows you one ladder, two ladders, or a moon. For one, the ladder you add must only touch one existing ladder. For two, it must touch exactly two existing ladders. For the moon symbol, you may touch one or two existing ladders, but your ladder must be the highest in the stack. Every time you knock part of the stack over or you don’t complete your task (if your ladders touches two but you rolled one, for example) you collect a Moon Tear. Once the last ladder is placed or the last tear is collected, the player with the least number of tears wins!
Seriously it’s that easy. And a little bit stressful.
As you can see by my face, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s definitely fun. Swing by and try not to make the moon cry! We will have Catch the Moon available for demo and purchase every day of Gen Con.
Men at Work- Pretzel Games
“Okay Risa,” you say, “I like dexterity games, but I want something with a little more challenge. Something with different-sized pieces and parts.” I hear you, all of you. And I am here to offer the perfect option: Men at Work.
In this game you are building a construction site. A very safe construction site I might add, because safety violations are how you lose the game. Depending on the card you draw you’ll place a beam, a girder (a longer beam), a worker, a brick, or a worker holding a brick or a beam. Your goal is to keep building, using only one hand, without knocking anything over, which would get you a safety violation. Too many violations and you’re out of the game.
That’s just an overview, it’s a little more intricate than that, but not by much! To learn more, come by the booth (#2535) and we’ll be happy to show you! Men at Work is going to be one of our rotating games so check back soon for our updated Gen Con schedule, which will include what games will be at the tables on what days. If you really want to learn this game and you’re only going to be there a specific day, let us know! We can’t promise anything, but if there is a demand for a particular game on a particular day, we will definitely take note.
Learn how to play one of our most anticipated Gen Con releases! It’s super short, so you can have it memorized by August and jump right into gameplay as soon as you get your hands on it.
Gen Con is just 2 weeks away! Where did the time go? We still have so much to talk about but this week we’re going to spotlight some of the games that are going to be at our demo tables at booth #2535 available both to try and to buy.
First up is Tokaido by Fun Forge!
The goal of the game: Have the most fulfilling journey as you travel the Eastern Road (Tokaido) from Kyoto to Teppan (modern-day Tokyo). Yeah. The winner of the game is the one who had the best time. And also earns the most victory points, but each point is representative of a fun experience so the point stands. Whoever has the most fun wins!
As you travel along the Tokaido you can stop at various locations like souvenir shops, temples, hot springs, and inns. You can also stop and enjoy the landscape or have a conversation with a local. Each experience gives you something, be it victory points, money, or opportunities to score victory points at a later time. And a very cool component that sets this game apart is that you can never share a space with another player, and whoever is farthest behind on the road gets to go first. So there really is a lot of strategy involved and many different ways to win (or prevent your friends from winning if you’re a competitive player whyiseveryonesuddenlylookingatme?)
I played Tokaido recently with two people who don’t play a lot of board games. They told me it had just the right amount of rules in that it required strategy, but you didn’t get overwhelmed or forget different things you could do. They also said the fact that the cards themselves, and their places on the board, gave you reminders of what those cards did, so we didn’t have to constantly consult the rulebook. That’s always a good sign, when you feel challenged but not overwhelmed, and you want to play again to get better.
Tokaido is a game that has been out for a bit, in fact, last year it released its 5th anniversary edition. It has 2 expansions and a collector’s accessory pack that replaces the cardboard coins with metal coins, and the colored meeples with minis of each traveler (that I want to paint! Which is huge for me, see our My Little Pony post for my thoughts on mini painting). It also comes with a CD of music that fits perfectly with the theme. All of these should be available at our booth, so you can start or expand your collection as you see fit.
So, are you excited yet? Will Tokaido be one of the games you’ll be trying out with us at Gen Con? Let us know!
Happy Friday, active players! Today we’re going to spotlight one of our incredible partners that contributed to our Mega Game Basket Giveaway that we’re running from August 1-4.
Metallic Dice Games offers premium gaming dice and accessories. They have dice of different materials, from acrylic, to metallic, to gemstone, in various fonts and colors. They offer mega d20’s and miniature full sets; they even have glow-in-the-dark and unicorn dice! They also have velvet lined dice trays and bags to keep both your dice and your table safe. In short, if you’re looking for something specific, they probably have it. Or if you’re like me and you want the dice to speak to you and tell you what kind of character they’re meant for, there’s a lot of beautiful options to choose from.
In our Mega Game Basket Giveaway (I always imagine a reverb every time I type that), we are giving away several different sets of dice from Metallic Dice Games, along with accessories like dice trays. All you have to do to win is sign up for our mailing list, which you will be able to do here starting August 1st, so save the link.
Metallic Dice Games has also generously offered to donate $200 to our Roll 4 Child’s Play charity drive (which you can donate to here) once we reach $1,000.
“But wait”, you say! “I really want to win these dice! How can I increase my chances?” If you will be attending Gen Con, stop by our booth (#2535) and donate in person! We’ll be giving away our limited-edition APN d6’s as a thank you for the donation (1 for $5, 2 for $10 or 4 for $15). If you take a picture/video of your dice and post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #Roll4ChildsPlay you’ll have a chance to win a set of resin dice and a dice tray from Metallic Dice Games! We’ll be selecting the posts that have the highest number of likes for both Instagram and Twitter, so start telling your friends about it now so they can boost your numbers (it’s not cheating, these dice are really cool).
Active players, we are so excited about this Mega Game Basket Giveaway and we hope you are too. Keep your eyes on this blog and follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube so you don’t miss any updates on the giveaway, the Roll 4 Child’s Play charity drive, all of our Gen Con antics, and the latest news about new and upcoming games.
I’m constantly reminded of how many different ways there are to “play”, and I love getting to talk with people who game in different ways than I do. Today’s interview is with Ian Magnusson, who specializes in RPGs of all kinds, from tabletop, to video games, to LARPs.
RP: Tell me a little about yourself!
IM: My name is Ian Magnusson, I am a New Jersey transplant living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have been gaming since the summer of 2000, unless you are counting video games which I have been playing since the mid-90s. My day job is at the up-and-coming Milwaukee Brewing company, but I am more excited for my weekends working as an actor for Renaissance Entertainment Productions at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
RP: What got you into gaming?
IM: As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed video games, specifically adventure and RPG games deep with story, but in the summer of 2000 I was working as a camp counselor when I got my first opportunity to play in a game of D&D and that changed my focus forever. At the end of my freshman year of college, I was invited to try out a LARP and ever since I have devoted as much time and energy to the worlds we create in games as possible. I have dabbled in online gaming of several kinds, mostly MMORPG's and MOBA's.
RP: Tell me a little bit about that first D&D game you ever played. Were you excited? Nervous?
IM: My first game of D&D was very exciting. It was my first year as a camp counselor and the game was being run and played by some of the coolest older staff members and I was the youngest person allowed to join. The whole process was so exciting. It was a simple homebrew game where we were impetuous adventurers investigating strange occurrences in the sewers below a small city. I was playing a chaotic good elf cleric of the God of the Elves, Corellon Larethian. The character was little more than a bolder version of myself in a lot of ways, but it taught me so much about making choices. The game started a little after our season started and ended at the end of season unfinished, but it will always be one of my most fond memories of gaming.
RP: What are some of your favorite games to play now?
IM: There are so many different kinds of games I love, so to keep it simple I will name only a few from three major categories: electronic, tabletop, and live action.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will always hold a special place in my heart, and Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic showed how much story and choice can mean to a game.
For Tabletop, I thoroughly enjoy Pathfinder for all its customizability, Fate system for how open it is, and Betrayal at the House on the Hill for its replayable zaniness.
Live action I love Nocturne LARP for its rich story, Oblivion LARP for its unique rules system, and Vampire: the Masquerade for politics.
RP: Based on your game selections I can tell storytelling is huge for you. What makes a good story?
IM: A good story should make you think. Either you should question why you act, believe, or do the things you do, or they should make you feel reassured about them. Sometimes a good twist in the story can really take it up a notch, but subverting expectations solely for the purpose of subverting them is pointless. There is a reason that we tell the same few stories over and over again in new ways. Morality and virtues examined through narrative are powerful tools.
There are many aspects and directions that make for a "good" story. I often prefer stories that have strong archetypal characters, stories that examine what is important. Another hugely important part of a good story is a consistent, well-fleshed out world. Personally, I don't have a lot of need for "realism," just believability. Stories that focus on a world of grey where there is no good and evil are not nearly as interesting as stories with more stark contrast. That is not to say that heroes should not be flawed, and villains should not have redeeming qualities, but that those aspects of them should not outweigh their more core facets. Also, I like to like characters. It is hard for me to care about what is going to happen next in a story if I don't care about who it is happening to.
RP: How is storytelling different in an RPG or LARP versus a video game?
IM: For me, one of the most important differences in storytelling between tabletop RPGs, LARPs, and video games is how defined your "walls" are. When running a tabletop game, I try to leave the options for what happens next as wide open as possible. Alternatively, I find with video games when I have too many options, I don't feel drawn to do any of them. I much prefer games that have a robust set of side quests with a clear central story to true sandboxes. It's hard to get a good feeling of pace when the game does not instill any sense of urgency and just lets you wander. Ironically, the exact opposite is true of the tabletop games I enjoy most. I like the opportunity to explore a world unfettered with the mind of a person guiding the flow of the story as you go is just better. Maybe someday a computer will be able to keep up with the story, but that day is not today.
RP: Do you consider gamer an integral part of your identity?
IM: I do, I love games and they comprise a lot of who I am. I feel that escaping the doldrums of working at a job I don't love, paying taxes, and the like, to worlds where good and evil clash,and the fate of the world is decided by me, is necessary for my sanity.
RP: Doldrums is an excellent word and I am 100% going to borrow it. Do you find that working through difficult themes in a game helps you deal with difficult things in your real life?
The feelings that I get when gaming really do a lot to help me get through the hard times. The feeling of accomplishment I get when I get through a particularly hard aspect of a video game that was giving me trouble. The feeling of hope that I get when giving or hearing a rousing speech at a LARP before a big battle. The feeling of importance when the king sends the party out on an epic quest to save the world in a D&D campaign. I guess for me it is less about direct correlation between my real-life issues to what I accomplish with my gaming, and more about what gaming helps to bring out in myself to deal with daily troubles.
Then again, tools that I develop in gaming can assist with other aspects of my life. Things like developing clear, concise communication with a team, learning resource management, troubleshooting issues with out-of-the-box thinking, and what makes a good leader, are all skills I have honed through gaming.
RP: Are there any Friendly Local Game Stores you frequent?
We actually have a really cool place called Board Game Barrister that my fiancée like to frequent. They have a few locations, a nice selection of games with awide variety of play types, a knowledgeable friendly staff, and most importantly they are welcoming to all. I am much happier giving my business to them knowing that they take as good care of their customers as possible, regardless of gender, age, or experience.
RP: Do you have any advice for people looking to get started with gaming?
IM: Find communities that promote being a nerd in any fashion and you will find they harbor people who game.
Who else has trouble finding good 2 player games? We just found a great one with Imhotep: The Duel by Thames & Kosmos. Anne got to learn how to play this fun spin on an already cool game in our last Get the Game episode from Origins 2019. Imhotep: The Duel releases on August 1st at your FLGS and at Gen Con!
Happy Tuesday, active players! We’re hoping you’re getting hype for Gen Con, and for our Child’s Play charity drive, #Roll4ChildsPlay. Remember, while you can of course donate at the convention at booth 2535, online donations are happening now. Mind Clash Games is going to be matching the first $500 raised and Metallic Dice Games will be adding an additional $200 once we make it to $1,000.
But what IS Child’s Play, you may ask? (No, not the movie with the doll)
What is Child’s Play?
Child’s Play is a charity designed to bring games (both video and tabletop) to children’s hospitals and domestic abuse shelters across the United States. They currently work with over 180 hospitals, and they continue to grow as gamers like you continue to help.
As gamers, we are all aware of the ways in which playing games help us unwind, or destress, or distract ourselves from the anxiety in our lives. We kick back with a video game on the couch, we meet with friends to play a board game, we play online with our friends. Now imagine you’re a child in a hospital. Suddenly those games become even more important than they already were; that need to destress or distract yourself is even more understandable. Having a game at that moment can be momentous. Hospitals are scary, even for adults. And you really don’t think about how crucial having that distraction, or that feeling of normalcy in this chaotic environment, can be until you’ve experienced it yourself.
Child’s Play works directly with hospitals to provide them exactly the games they’re looking for, which kids can then check out like a library book to use in their rooms, or they can play together in playrooms. One testimonial stated, “last year two teenage boys were able to game together from their rooms even though they were often in isolation and rarely saw each other in person.” For those children on bedrest, the games become exponentially more necessary. Another added that the video game systems, “allow our older patients to enjoy their time at the hospital, forget the often (physically and emotionally) painful conditions/treatment, and spend time with their brothers, sisters, and visiting friends like they did at home.” You can read more testimonials from hospital employees and parents here.
This charity is for gamers and it supported by gamers. We who play are the backbone for this organization and our donations keep it running and help these kids. We at APN are so excited to be able to give back and support this wonderful charity.
At booth 2535 at Gen Con, we will be giving out limited edition APN D6’s as a thank you for your donations. For $5 you get 1 die, for $10 you get 2 dice, and for a donation of $15 or more you’ll get 4 d6’s, which is the perfect amount to roll up a new RPG character (we suggest they have a love of pineapples). We will also have some Child’s Play swag to give out, and we will be around to answer any questions you may have. This is all while supplies last, so swing by and donate as soon as you can.
To go with this dice giveaway we are using the hashtag #Roll4ChildsPlay. If you donate in person with us and receive your dice, we ask that you take a photo or video with them and use that hashtag. We will be selecting one random person using that hashtag to receive an extra prize as a thank-you for your generosity.
If you can’t attend Gen Con this year, you can always donate online. The more we raise, the more our partners will match, so every little bit helps.
Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated. For those of you planning to donate at Gen Con and get those dice, let us know in the comments! Happy Rolling!