I actually had to cancel my Dungeons and Dragons game today because I wasn’t feeling up to it, when I woke up from my Nyquil induced coma I rolled a three.
Miniatures are fascinating. Even if someone has never made a saving throw, cursed the regenerative abilities of trolls, or been engulfed by a gelatinous ooze they may feel compelled to pick up a mini and proclaim its virtues. That’s one of the things that makes Dungeon Command so wonderful. It’s a Wizards of the Coast product that has produced five distinct sets thus far. Heroes of of Cormyr, Sting of Lolth, Tyranny of Goblins, Curse of Undeath, and Blood of Gruumsh are each filled with 36 pre-painted miniatures that make great additions to any collection.
My favorite by far is Heroes of Cormyr which includes elves, dwarves, and a collection of assorted heroes. Gathering a decent assortment of heroic figures for your party to use can be costly and time consuming, but with this product you’re almost certain to find something to suit your player’s needs with a single purchase. The rest of the sets are filled with monstrous figures so their usefulness depends on what sort of campaign you’re running. For example I don’t own Sting of Lolth because I don’t use drow in most of my campaigns.
Aside from a fantastic set of miniatures which can be used in any game of Dungeons and Dragons, Dungeon Command includes an entirely separate game where armies clash over great dungeons and battlefields. If you’ve ever played the Star Wars Miniatures Game, Heroclix, or any other similar game you’ve probably played something a great deal like Dungeon Command. Players assembled their armies and the use cards also included in each of the sets to enhance their figures abilities even further.
It could be said that Dungeon Command is one of the innovations being used to help bridge the gap between 4th Edition and Dungeons and Dragons Next, but that isn’t really a fair statement. Some people have expressed displeasure with the fact that a few of the figures used in Dungeon Command were released in previous sets but that didn’t bother me in the least.
At a cost of $39.99 per set there is a considerable investment to be made in each Dungeon Command set, but weighed against the prospect of buying random boosters or single figures it could end up saving you money.
I’ve participated in dozens of play-by-post games over the years and enjoyed the experience immensely. There are many forums which allow players to join in on this sort of game, but my favorite by far is Critical Failures hosted by the Penny Arcade web comic. This was the first forum I ever ran a pbp on, it was a game of Mutants and Masterminds 2nd Edition in case you were curious. Play-by-post campaigns are a great way to find a game if you’re looking for something that is being played constantly regardless of distance or scheduling conflicts.
The reason I mention Critical Failures is that the community on this forum is welcoming, informative, and kind to new players. Games are readily available, and if you don’t see something you’re interested in immediately it’s often just around the corner. They even host a yearly secret Santa for their members which is something I’ve never found anywhere else.
If you’re looking to try out pbp, or you just want to read through some fantastic games I strongly recommend taking a look at Critical Failures.
Five Star Chef
There is a lot of repetition in tabletop games these days, and that’s necessarily a bad thing. Creative people will always find a new way to present something we’ve seen before, and old stories can be made to look brand new by a good storyteller. The fact that it is the only game of it’s type I’ve ever seen may be one of the reasons that it is so exciting, in addition the simple truth that it is a wonderful game. Five Star Chef is a independently produced game where players create their own chefs who then compete against one another using a series of dice rolls. The game was created by SUPERSUGA over at the Critical Failures forum I just mentioned.
I love Iron Chef, Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and films like Jiro Dreams of Sushi so this idea fascinated me instantly. There’s something amazing about watching talented chefs prepare food. They’re a bit like wizards assembling the components of a spell. My favorite part of the game is creating your chef, which isn’t a surprise as I love character creation, especially when the system is as creative as this one. You choose your chef’s preparation skills which include their oven skill, their ingredient skill, their school of cooking, and finally their signature touch.
If you’re looking for something completely new to bring to the table, or if you’re in culinary school you should really give Five Star Chefs a try.