Browsing articles in "Convergence"

Gamer Food: Grilled Hot Wings

Jul 8, 2011
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The chaos monkeys decided I needed a new grill today. Wings were the first thing on the menu.

Neither fast or delivered, a batch of these wings will disappear instantly. I started with the Barbecued Buffalo Wings recipe from Simply Recipes. Grilled at low heat for around 90 minutes. The slow cooking and continual basting bakes in the flavor while mellowing the spice. A last minute coating of the sauce brings back the zest.




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On post-apocalypse games

May 24, 2011
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Apocalyptic settings were one of many topics at Convergence. Randall made the comment that every post-apocalypse game we’ve played are essentially the same. As usual, he’s correct and made me consider the topic. Every PA game we’ve played with the exception of Cyberpunk have been temporally set directly at or right after the apocalypse.

Fixing a game at the outset of civilizations downfall forces the similarity of the games. No matter if it is a military invasion, a nuclear war, aliens or zombies, at the outset everyone is focused on immediate survival. Additionally, every game master has chosen to make the players play themselves as characters. Except the player’s families have been expunged from the game to lessen obvious choice to go save each family.

The time frame of the setting is a primary contributor to similarity. Doing so forces an immediacy of action onto the players. Failure to act results in an increment to the casualty counter. The downside is that the world around the players is complete chaos. Loot to survive, make questionable moral choices, and repeat. The availability of actions is quite constrained.

Playing yourself is an old idea. I pulled that card at least a half dozen times in the past. Cool to do a few times but grows tiresome quickly. We don’t play games to play ourselves. Players want to be something different. Not necessarily larger than life at all times but creating a persona is key to role playing. Self-play is definitely #2 on similarity contributor list. Expunging history is only meaningful if you want to eliminate the obvious. Allowing players to play something other than themselves reopens the history space without the detriment of the widely known player actions.

Shifting the time frame would encourage a different style game. Letting the dust settle on the PA environment would allow a new sense of ‘normalcy’ to settle in. Characters wouldn’t have to worry about the immediacy of surviving but would already know how to acquire food, water, and shelter. The focal point of the game could then shift from survival to other topics. Perhaps eradicating the source of the zombie infection; leading a tipping-point revolt against the invading army; re-establishing the rule of man in a mutant future or many other ideas.

Over arching play is hard to achieve in PA settings. The ideas are too easily imagined. Realism has its limits when you cannot decouple entirely. There are games to play in the PA realm but mostly I think they are a few sessions at best. Fillers. Nothing wrong with that.

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Rust on the Sandbox

May 18, 2011
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Power running Grasslands at Convergence demonstrated how rusty I am at off-the-cuff game mastering. I did some preparation for the game but was planning on 4 players. Instead the player count was 2 at the start and 3 later in the day. Since the player count was low, I had the two original folks make two characters each. Grasslands is generally deadly so I figured at least half the characters would die over the course of the session. Instead, only one PC died: Yop* from the later arriving member. Many others came very close but managed to escape death.

In the past, I’ve used random monster tables frequently based on terrain type. I’d extend the terrain type for transition zones since the grasslands are a singular type. However, the hard bound Monstrous Compendium from 2nd Edition doesn’t contain random monster tables. So much for that. Flipping through the book is slow and tedious; not to mention boring for the players. So I’d scramble during breaks to ponder a few different creatures as I went along. The original monster supplements in the loose-leaf, 3 ring binder format had the tables. Randall asked if he should bring them. I said no need. Go figure.

After a few hours of struggling along, I finally got back into the groove. The pace picked up but was no where near my heydays in the role of chief chaos creator. Still, the majority of the party was having a good time in their chosen roles. I also wasn’t well prepared for in-town stuff. I hadn’t really given it much thought. Luckily, Randall did what he always does and started the ball rolling. Player driven stuff is easier to handle for me. I can generally determine rough slices of interest based upon the character actions. From there, I just drop in filler.

Overall, I spent over 12 hours in the DM seat. The rust wasn’t gone but at least it was flaking away by the end of the night. It was quite fun to bring back a setting from 20 years ago even if the start was slow. I was pleased and got compliments from a couple of players. If they had a good time and I had a good time, who can ask for more?

* Yep, its Yop. My bad.

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Grocery Store Mead

May 17, 2011

Conversations at Convergence always vary widely. Randall and I were talking about brewing at one point and I mentioned I’d been thinking about trying a batch of mead. From what I’d seen, brewing mead was far simpler than beer but thought it took quite a while longer for the fermentation and ageing. He thought it would be nice to try. The idea was still ticking about in the back of my head on Monday so I did some research.

Mead is an interesting drink. I like it on occasion but really didn’t want to start with a five gallon batch. Several sites I read mentioned 1 gallon batches as an easy way to get started along with a variety of recipes. The primary components for a batch of mead are water, honey, and yeast. Yeast varieties vary for beer brewing and mead brewing has several choices as well from what I read. Then I stumbled on’s page: How to make some Mead today -the cheap, fast, and easy way.

I already needed to visit the grocery store. So along with the other necessities, I picked up the water, yeast, honey, balloons, oranges, and raisins. The total additional cost was $14.78, the bulk of which was honey. A Colorado brand was on sale so I chose it over the store brand, which added a minor amount of cost. Also, it turned out one of my beer airlocks fit the water jug nicely so I didn’t need to buy the balloons.

Raw Ingredients

The instructions are pretty clear except for one thing. I wasn’t sure if the orange was sliced with or without the peel. After watching one of his videos, I discovered its peel and all. Mine is missing the peel but the orange is apparently optional. The omission of the peel will likely not add as much acidity but should be fine. I also added a cinnamon stick and a bit of vanilla bean. Spices are crazy expensive but both were on sale. For the amounts I used, the cost elevated by a couple of dollars.

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The Munchkin Zombie Infection Continues

May 16, 2011

Munchkin Zombies 2

Somewhere in between games of Magic and Munchkin Zombies at Convergence, Steve Jackson Games announced Munchkin Zombies 2 – Armed and Dangerous. The expansion set will be released in August. I enjoyed Munchkin Zombies but not quite as much as Munchkin the first time I played it. The really strange and oddball stuff didn’t seem as common as in the original. Likely, the added expansion sets in Wheel’s Munchkin collection added more flavor. I’m pretty sure he can make room for an additional 112 cards when they come out. Especially if he adds a Box of Holding. At the rate he’s acquiring cards, he’s going to need a suitcase just for them. Beyond the original and the Zombies he also brought along Star Munchkin, which was a cool twist. Munchkin is definitely on the list of card games to fill in the gaps between roleplaying sessions.

Other Convergence Madness

To fill out the Steve Jackson Games section, I picked up Zombie Dice at Bonnie Brae Hobby Shop before heading out for the weekend. The game is just as advertised – fast, fun and engaging. Even after reading the lightweight rules a couple of times, I still spaced out on playing out the final round. Including it would have made several of the games much more interesting.

Wench the Card Game

In tandem with my Zombie Dice purchase, Randall was sucked into buying Wench! A Drinking Man’s Thinking Game. The card game appeared to be a juvenile, crazy paced card game at first glance. In the right mood, it might be a cool game but it is overly complicated for just playing off the cuff. The premise was sound, albeit crazy, but the playability languished. The game was worth several laughs. The game designer was thinking ahead — the cards can be used as a normal deck of cards. The artwork is pretty good if you enjoy the style.

Dozens of games of Magic the Gathering rounded out the card play. The highlight was 3 different decks designed to force drawing and discarding along with the associated pain. I couldn’t begin to count how many of those games we played but even starting at 40 didn’t keep one alive for more than a handful of rounds most games. Duelling might be fun but laughing as you get your ass handed to you round after round due to multiple players was crazy fun.

You will fight….

May 11, 2011
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Demon snow angels! Looks like we’ll have a bit of snow for the Spring 2011 Convergence. It’s currently snowing above 6000 feet and predicted to continue throughout the day and into tomorrow. The accumulation could be significant. Somehow snow is always an issue when I bring along home brewed beer. Very curious.

Intersection of I-70 & CO103

The current weather reports are a variation of this one:

Today…Widespread snow. Snow accumulation of 5 to 10 inches. Highs 29 to 39. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph.

Tonight…Snow showers likely. Additional snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. Lows 19 to 29. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 25 mph after midnight. Chance of snow 60 percent.

The snow should make for an interesting drive up the mountain tonight.

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Spring Convergence 2011

Jan 18, 2011

Spring Convergence has been scheduled for May 12th-15th. Strangely, the date decision was quite easy this time around thanks to rapid inputs from everyone interested. The location will once again be at the University of Denver’s Mount Evans Field Station. The location has become the default location due to the amenities and low cost. A bit out of the way for some people but that keeps us from bothering the neighbors.

The group this year may be the largest we’ve had to date. Thus far, we have 4 of the regulars confirmed. Randall hasn’t chimed in yet to say he can make it but I will wager he will. Additionally, two new people have indicated a desire to attend as well. Should everyone make it, we’ll have a nice group of 7 people. A wonderful number for role playing.

I’ve begun working on some refreshments for the weekend along with some prep work on an Old School D&D mini-campaign called The Chalice and The Graele. I’ve also got numerous notes that I could utilize for a post-modern/bleak-future game that didn’t get played in the fall.

Kevin was quick to point out he has a number of options as well.

  • A continuation of Zombie D6 Lite based off our first session at the grocery store last fall.
  • Also, we’ll probably have to kill Randy in a few hands of I Shoot Randy
  • Also a Ghost Hunter idea he’s been formulating that didn’t get played in the fall. I’ll let him chime in with the details.

The list of possibilities wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that Randall owes us a session of Panty Explosion. He won’t get off with violent stomach flu as an excuse this time around. Luke also was willing to continue his 3E D&D campaign from Spring ’09. We should have lots of options to choose from.

I’m looking forward to the weekend already. Cannot wait for spring to arrive.