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John Fiala
Works at SpireMedia
Attended CMU
Lives in Denver, CO
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John Fiala

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Eeee!  I can register for the PacificCoast Origami convention in Boulder!

I wonder which days I can talk my wife into letting me go. :)
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Thanks, Anna, for the advice.
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Well, the weekend is over, and I have the spare time to return to #RPGaDAY2015. I'm afraid last weekend was my daughter's birthday, and as such I was being a 4th level father.

Ah, roleplaying jokes.  Do they never get old?

Let's see.  I missed "Favorite appearance of RPGs in the Media" on Saturday - that's probably the one that's stuck in my head, which would be the D&D game they're playing in ET.  I also missed "Favorite media you wish was an RPG", which is an interesting one.  I still think Harry Potter would be a great game, but let's face it - the fact that it doesn't exist (when we even had a CCG for a while) is proof that the license is either too expensive or not available.  As another option, my eyes just landed on my set of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, which strikes me as an interesting idea for a magic/steampunk world.  Early inventions, ancient Atlantean super-science, rogue cells of Atlantean Cults, and scientific do-gooders!  Probably not worth the work of getting a license, though, because the property's not en-vogue these days.

Which brings us to today, #10, "Favorite RPG Publisher".  There's a lot of publishers that I'm fond of.  Pelgrane Press has been doing some really cool work with Gumshoe, and I've heard good things about 13th age as well.  Pinnacle Entertainment Group's Savage Worlds is also a lot of fun, and has a lot of interesting expansions - and I'm looking forward to the Lankhmar and Flash Gordon licenses.  But my favorite company, warts and all, is Chaosium, publisher of probably my favorate RPG, The Call of Cthulhu.  Sure, the recent management and kickstarter problem hasn't been pretty, but Chaosium is very much the little engine that could, and it's managed to survive two crises in the past - and all signs point to them surviving this one as well.

Although, y'know, I think it's time to ease off on chasing the easy money.  CCG's and now Kickstarter have both proven to be not as easy as they seem, and hopefully when the holographic dice come along, Chaosium will hold off on embracing them until the pitfalls are fully understood. :)
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And now we're down to day #6 of #RPGaDAY2015!  Which is apparently "Most Recent RPG Played".  

Well, this one is easy.  *Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition*.  I haven't had much time for gaming lately, so when a spot opened up to run games at local game store The Wizard's Chest, my wife suggested I volunteer, so I did.  (This is their Encounters program.)

Well - Although the store had had more than 8 people showing up to play, once I started showing up to run there was only a table's worth each time... so instead I've been playing as a Fighter, which is different because I usually play wizard-types.  It's fun - we're going through that Elemental Princes of evil campaign.  Although I missed last night's session, as we're trying to put together this play structure we bought for my daughter's birthday this weekend. :)
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Continuing with #RPGaDAY2015, today's theme is "Most Surprising Game".

At the moment, if you'll let me step away from RPGs, the most surprising game for me is Exploding Kittens.  That kickstarter took off, which wasn't that much of a surprise given how popular the Oatmeal has been.  I don't even know what percentage funded it got, because Kickstarter makes that harder to see now, but they had mentioned that it was at least 10,000% funded, which is pretty insane.

But what's surprising?  They shipped ON TIME.  First time doing a kickstarter, first time doing a card game, almost 220,000 copies to send out, and they're on time.  That's amazing, folks.  Big round of applause.

In a similar vein, Feng Shui 2 is similarly surprising.  I had my copy before the due date of August 2015, if only by a day or so.  A similar round of applause for Robin Laws and Atlas Games.  Good job.  Doing kickstarters can be lucrative, but getting them done on a schedule is hard.  Producing a fantastic book (and Feng Shui 2 looks fantastic from what I've read) and sending it out on time is hard work done well.

It's really hard to surprise people in gaming these days.  A game comes out, and people have read about it for months, either updates on the kickstarter, or early news, or whichever.  I think the game whose existence surprised me recently is the Savage Worlds Lankhmar that's come out - I still haven't had the pleasure of reading a copy, but hope springs eternal.  The fact that Palladium Games has licensed Rifts for Savage Worlds is also a big surprise.  And now we've got Flash Gordon coming out for SW.  So, all in all, it sounds like Savage Worlds and it's various supplements is the most surprising thing on my docket right now.

(But again - good job, Exploding Kittens and Feng Shui 2.  Good job!)
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So - #RPGaDay2015  continues with "Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months"

And I'm going to go with Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition if I can go with reprints.  I like the changes, even if they're a bit of a pain to implement in code. (C++ programers who want to help with Byakhee are welcome here.)  The focus in the book on why these characters are adventuring together are a welcome new addition as well.

Although, if we're talking Game product of the last 12 months, I think I'll bring up Red and Pleasant Land.  Issues with the author aside, it really is a remarkable piece of work in a lovely presentation.  It's not very clean and even, but considering the topics of madness and vampirism that run through the work, it's quite appropriate.

Sadly, a big part of my trouble with answering this sort of question is that I'm really far behind on my game reading. :)  For instance, I've been flipping through Worlds of Cthulhu #5 and Cthulhu Brittanica: Avalon recently (thanks to the big Chaosium sale) and I'm pretty sure WoC may be close to a decade old at this point. :)
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Oh, and if you've got C++ skills, I meant to link to this: https://github.com/jcfiala/Byakhee
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Continuing with my sudden adoption of #RPGaDay2015, day #2 is "Kickstarted Game most pleased you backed."

Which is difficult.  I've backed a lot of games, supplements, and accessories.  If it were accessories, I might mention the Gaming Paper Megadungons, which have been good quality interesting pre-made map geomorphs that can be laid out into an interesting to-scale map.

Supplements would probably cause me to pick The Sense of the Slight of Hand Man, a fantastic Dreamlands-focused campaign for Call of Cthulhu.

Hm.  I think I'll go with Tenra Bansho Zero, which is both a staggeringly imaginative game from Japan, a true feat of translation, and the door opening to a raft of other games being introduced from there.  Although both Dungeon World, Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, and Deadlands Noir are also good picks.
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If my daughter is playing with my Harry Dresden FUDGE dice in my Yog-Sothoth.com dice tower, and rolls four (-) sides, should I worry?
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yes she is now marked 
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So, last night I broke out the copy of "Catan Junior" that I had bought for my daughter's 4th birthday, and we gave it a try.

I really like how they simplified the catan game for kids.
1) Chits instead of cards for resources, and they're kept in public view.  This lets parents help kids, and prevents kids from bending all the cards.
2) You don't steal resources from other players, and you don't lose them if you have too many - instead, moving the Ghost Captain to an island gives you two of that island's resource.
3) One die, not two.
4) Players don't trade with each other (well, it's an advanced rule), instead, they trade either with the 'marketplace', a section on the board holding five resources, or with the bank at a 2:1 trade.
5) No ports.  One road (well, ship) between Forts/Castles, no minimum distance, just Fort/Ship/Fort/Ship.
6) Instead of discovery cards, there are Parrot Chips that you use immediately, and the person with the most gets to put one of their Forts on the Skull Island.
7) First person to get all of their Forts in play wins. (No points)

And... my daughter won! We helped her with it - she wasn't quite up on the idea of planning what she wanted to trade for, but she enjoyed rolling the die, finding the matching things on the board, and collecting things.  At one point she had about seven Goat tokens, and kept complaining that Mommy and Daddy was waking them up (which meant she got to run the goat around the table making goat noises until it went back to sleep).

It's not as deep as one of the Adult Catan games, but on the other hand, it beats another play of 'Unicorn Glitterluck'. :)

(If you're interested in seeing more of this game, there's a playthrough on the Tabletop Youtube series.)
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I might have to pick this up, thanks for the review. If you're looking for other board games, my son (just turned 5) loves King of Tokyo and Hey That's My Fish.
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Continuing with #RPGaDAY2015  with the topic of "Favorite Free RPG".

It used to be that this was a pretty narrow field.  Not that many people produced free RPGs, and they tended to be pretty niche things.  Nowadays, you can play Pathfinder without owning a book thanks to the SRD, and you can download a free copy of 5th edition D&D that, while not complete, contains everything you would need to play.

I think my runner up on this is FUDGE.  I've enjoyed the game for a while now, and even switched to running Call of Cthulhu games with it for a while at conventions when I was a little burned out on picking through all of the character building options, even with Byakhee.  

FUDGE is a good little roleplaying game.  You can download it for free, or if you want to, you can find a ton of for-pay books with magic systems (A Magical Melody), tons of alternate rules (FUDGE 10th Anniversary Edition), or even licensed games (Deryni Adventure Game).  It used to be that the dice could be hard to find than the game, but these days between FATE taking off and alternate die systems or cards that you can buy, it's not that hard.

But with that said, my favorite Free RPG is Risus.  I don't know if it's the simple character generation, building upon cliches to build characters; if it's the well-crafted description of how the game works by S. John Ross, or if it's just the cute stick figure art, but it's always got a place in my heart.
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It's the start of the day, so time to start thinking about #RPGaDAY2015 again.  Today's topic is "Most Recent RPG Purchase".

These days the word Purchase is a little slippery, so I'm going to present a couple of things.

First, there's kickstarter.  Looking there, I see that my pledge for World War Cthulhu: Cold War was collected on July 21, 2015, which is a sort of purchase, isn't it?  I won't actually see the book until April of next year (God willing and the creek don't rise), but I've already paid for it.  I'm looking forward to this - I've heard good things about WWCthulhu in the past, and I'm pretty heavily invested in the Call of Cthulhu game, so I'm looking forward to it.

Then there's Patreon.  Every two or three days Dyson Logos makes a new map and sends it to me, and in return I give him, well, about a quarter.  He does a lot of maps, after all, and the quarters pile up.  Considering the recent discussions on people making a living with RPG work, he seems to be doing well at the moment with Patreon.  (I was going to look up how much he's making, but Patreon seems to be having website problems.)

And then the most recent purchase in terms of I give you cash and you give me product, is probably the mass purchase I made on Chaosium.org in their recent warehouse clearance sale.  I got a pretty big haul too - Dragon Lines, Twilight Memoirs, Cthulhu Brittanica, CB: Avalon, The Chronicles of Future Earth, A Dream of Japan, World War Cthulhu, Worlds of Cthulhu issue #5, and a shopworn copy of Call of Cthulhu and the Traveler's Companion from Horror on the Orient Express.  Worlds of Cthulhu is so far living up to it's reputation as a fantastic magazine, and Cthulhu Brittanica: Avalon is an interesting look at part of England that I wasn't so familiar with... but I haven't actually finished reading either of them.

(On the other hand, if we're talking about games that I purchased most recently, that's probably 'Unicorn Glitterdust', a modest kid's game from Germany featuring little unicorns hopping along a trail of clouds and collecting crystals.  My three year old loves it.  Pity me! :)
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For once, we didn't have outrage that someone was selling a game at GenCon before it had been mailed out to backers.  So, that was nice.
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I am quite resigned in regards of delivery expectations.@.@;
Plus I did back notable less products,..
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Well, why not start this #RPGaDay2015 here?  

Let's see, Day #1 is "Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To".  

That's an interesting question.  One of the topmost ones is probably *Savage Worlds: Rifts*, where I'm curious to see how they're going to adapt all the different things in Rifts to Savage Worlds.  I'm also looking forward to the overdue *TimeWatch* rpg, where the gumshoe system is used for agents travelling through time to fix what's been broken by evil time travellers.  A month earlier, I might have brought up *Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls*.

I think I'll go with Savage Worlds: Rifts, for now.  The mix of a different system to an established world that hasn't been open to adaptation (or even a new edition) is interesting.  But Y'know, if I were going to run something, it'd probably be Call of Cthulhu. :)
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Web/Database developer
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  • SpireMedia
    Developer, 2012 - present
  • Vintage Digital
    Code Monkey, 2009 - present
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Drupal Developer, Web hobbiest, roleplayer and reader
Introduction
Hey.

I'm John Fiala, a Web Developer and Gamer who works mostly in Drupal, an Open Source PHP CMS.  I live in Denver, and am fairly active with things.

I like to play both Boardgames and Roleplaying games.
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