Dec 052011
 


Fortune and Glory is a board game from Flying Frog where players take on the roles of 1930’s explorers, scientists, reporters and club singers as they explore ancient temples, dangerous tombs and terrible traps in the search for fantastic mythical treasure.

It is also a board game that costs around 100$. Well, that’s the ‘fortune’ part of the title right there.

On the other hand, every single dollar is visible in this game. Instead of the expected cardboard counters, there are quite a few plastic miniatures and plastic coins. The cards are made of some high quality glossy stuff that I suspect could survive several drinks spills. The box itself is about twice the length of most games. Hell, the game comes with a soundtrack(!) of quite good background music for playing the game.

I have to take a moment to mention the art style for this game. They use pulp style illustrations for some of the cards, but every character and quite a few other cards use color photos of people dressed in period clothes. Some people have criticized the photos as looking like cosplayers you would see at conventions but personally, I consider that to be a huge plus. They look like people having fun dressing up as mobsters and sexy reporters. Fun is infectious. It is impossible to look at the character photos and not want to go grab your own prop to dress up with.

Which brings us to the game itself. The game has several gameplay modes. I highly recommend trying the simplest mode first, which is competitive.

Do you remember the first Indiana Jones movie where Indy breaks into the temple and comes out with the treasure, only to lose it that asshole archeologist who was waiting for him? That is competitive mode in this game. Players race against each to grab treasure, doing their best to sabotage each other and claim artifacts for themselves.

The more complicated mode is cooperative mode where players work together against a common enemy. The enemy in this case is either the Nazis (hiss!) or the Mob (Boo!). Which is sort of like the third Indiana Jones movie where everyone is kicking Nazi ass and grabbing treasures before Hitler gets his slimy paws on it.

I like cooperative mode because it lets me and my wife play against the board and work together. There are not many fun games on the market that can do that. The only downside is that when it is the bad guys’ turn, you have to go through a five step procedure to do their turn. I am sure that I will get the hang of it eventually but it was quite cumbersome the first time around. On the other hand, the villain turn requires random rolls to determine their actions, making it completely impartial which is perfect for a cooperative game.

My wife and I lost our first game this weekend but we had a lot of fun playing it. When you attempt to get a treasure, you have to complete challenges drawn from a deck. The challenge will say something like this.

“Your plane engine suddenly stops working! Someone has sabotaged you! Roll blah blah to fix the engine!”

Now if you do the roll, then you get Glory and everything is peachy. If you fail, then you flip the card over and must do the Cliffhanger. The Cliffhanger is a hard dice roll that you need to make or end up knocked out and sent back to your home city. The thing is, you aren’t allowed to resolve the Cliffhanger UNTIL YOUR NEXT TURN. Which means in true cliffhanger spirit, you are left staring at the terrible fate awaiting you while everyone else does their turn. Delicious.

My Russian Mad Scientist character was in a plane crash, fell down a mountain and navigated a terrible ancient labyrinth in my quest for the Helmet of Atlantis while an evil Nazi vixen was chasing me and trying to get the Helmet for her diabolical Fuhrer. That was ONE adventure that I had in this game out of several. Pretty damn neat.

Essentially this game is always about pushing your luck. There is always a safer, slower way to do things but you are always racing against someone for that treasure. Going slow lets you heal and recover between challenges but when a Nazi goon is one step away from the treasure, sometimes you can’t stand to stop and rest. It is certainly a game for thrill seekers and risk takers.

So is it worth 100$? It depends on the players. If you like working together, then you will like it. If you like screwing each other over, this game can accommodate you too. If you love pulp cliffhangers with lost temples and terrible villains, you are going to want this game. If you can handle the ups and downs of glorious fortune and cruel twists of fate, then you will love this game.

(On a completely different angle – after playing this game, I called my wife’s breasts “Fortune and Glory” and she didn’t mind a bit. That is a good game if you ask me.)

Dec 272010
 

In my years of being on the internet, I have found that people are too busy during the last week of the year to be reading porn. I like to think that they are rushing about and fucking as many people as possible before the new year turns them back into office drones and school teachers. Whatever the reason, they usually aren’t reading my stories this week.

Free from the constraints of making smut, I thought I would share with you my top five games of the year. I’m a writer so I don’t have time to plat Everquest, Warcraft or anything else that is a second job. I do however need something fun, interesting and entertaining to play in between writing about blowjobs. I am also a cheap ass so I don’t like to spend 50$ on a 12 hour shooting game.

Game #5 Desktop Dungeons– This free game is very simple yet also terribly difficult. You create a character and enter a dungeon as big as your monitor screen. You walk around killing things, grabbing loot and leveling your character as you seek to defeat the big boss of the level. That’s it. Most games last ten minutes.

What keeps me playing this game every day is that as you defeat dungeons, you unlock new character classes and new equipment. The levels are random so in a lot of cases, you just can’t win. That’s okay as you can just quit and start a new game. You keep throwing players into this meat grinder of a game and when you finally do defeat a boss, it is like winning the lottery. You dance. You cheer. You look at the new character class that you have unlocked and you try again.

If you have ever played Dungeons and Dragons and wished you could play again, just without all the paperwork, other players and rattle of dice, then this is the game for you. So much fun for literally nothing.

Game #4 Eschalon Book 2– Back in the early days of computer gaming, we had lovely games like Ultima and Fallout where 2D worlds were wonderfully deep and filled with gameplay. Because it was 2D and turn based instead of processor hogging #D and real time, the designers could really invest some complexity and depth to their games. Now all of the complexity is put into realistic blood splatters.

The polar opposite of Desktop Dungeons, Eschalon Book 2 is a nice long journey into a fantasy world. You have stats. You have character classes and choices. You have boxes to open and monsters to kill. You have a story and a world to explore. Best of all, it is all turn based so slow pokes like me can make choices at my leisure. It is the kind of game we would have been playing in the early 90’s except it has been made with today’s technology.

My wife especially loves this game. She racked up 90 hours on it before she solved it. It is one of the few games that she has solved as she frequently gets too bored with games to finish them. This game has depth and it kept her interested all the way to the end. That deserves a medal in itself.

At 24.95, it is half the price of most mainstream games with ten times the gameplay time.

Game #3 Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!A Reckless Disregard for Gravity – This is a game where you jump off of floating buildings, weave in between psychedelic structures, flip off protesters, wave at your fans and spray paint graffiti on government buildings as you fall. You score points for stunts and but mostly you splatter against structures and wince repeatedly. It is a brutally fun good time.

I know what you’re thinking- “Shon, you’re an old fuddy duddy who plays turn based games! How can you have fun playing something that relies on reflexes to not turn your bones to paste?”

The anwser is that every part of the game is so much fun, I just keep coming back to it. The game opens with a statement; “Dejoban Games, proudly making computer games for 75 years.” It starts with a ludicrous joke. The menu screen plays muzak. The unlock section has a video with a cookie recipe. Giant billboards of employees appear while you are plummeting down great heights. The game designers looked at every part of the game and made it a joke. This attention to humor is a huge inspiration to me as a writer but it also makes for a fun party atmosphere. I mostly die in this game but it is still a good time.

It is also a good tight game. Falling feels right. It is exhilarating. Even screwing up is spectacular as you collide with flat surfaces at breakneck speeds.

Aaaaa etc is currently selling for 9.99 on their website.

Game #2 Delve Deeper – The King of the Dwarfs demands treasure. Because he also believes in competition, he sends multiple teams of dwarfs to kill monsters and each other as they struggle to be the team that brings back the most gold to the king.

This is the rare game that feels like a board game in the best possible way. You pick tiles to explore the caves and you move your team of five dwarfs like a war game. Unlike a board game, the computer takes care of all the annoying math as well as providing a really smart AI to play against. You come across treasure chests filled with random crazy shit like the world’s worse deck of treasure cards.

There are a few mechanics that really make this game shine. Dwarfs never die. They get beat down and go to sleep, but they are never eliminated. One on one, most of the monsters are pretty weak. When 20 monsters come at you though, you are in deep shit but you might still wear them down. This is a game where you will get treasure, the question is whether you will get more treasure than your opponents. It creates an atmosphere that you are really tough and powerful but are you smart enough?

Much like Aaaaa etc, this game drips with humor. You will take on dwarf teams named after the A-team or the boxers from the Rocky movies. Treasure is always interesting from the worthless painting of treasure to the epic like the Blue Belt of Holding In Your Stomach. The monsters are cute and the Dwarf King is constantly heckling you for more treasure. With over 100 uniquely named treasure items, you will always come across a fresh joke.

At five dollars, this game is a steal.

Game #1 Minecraft – Imagine that you are a castaway on a world rich with resources. You have trees that can give you wood. You have rock and iron quarries that you can make tools with. You have have pigs that you can hunt for food. You have sand to make glass, clay to make bricks and coal to make torches. You have no people to talk to but hey, you’re like Tom Hanks and Macgyver combined.

Which is good, because when night falls, zombies, skeletons, spiders and worse will come out of nowhere and fuck your shit up. You better have a house, a bunker or something that you can hide in because the night monsters will kill you. Day light will finally come and burn most of the monsters away but the rest you will have to kill with sword and arrow. The upside is that you will use their remains to make new things.

That is Minecraft in a nutshell. You build, you scavenge and you survive. There is no story except your story. There is no goals except the ones you make for yourself. Want to make a tower of glass and stone? Well you better dig up sand and mine some stone then. Want to make a watch so you know what time it is? You need to find some gold and the mysterious red stone then. It is a game where you have nothing that you need to do, but there is plenty to do once you decide what you want. It is a remarkably freeing game to play.

It is currently in beta but there is no game that I have played more this year. I have built roads and towers and a network of safe houses across the country side. Why? Because it was fun. Unlike Sims where you build houses with a few mouse clicks, here you build houses by mining the raw materials and then placing it brick by brick. I have spent hours building roads connecting my towers not because I received some sort of gold or experience award but because I was tired of getting lost in the hills near my castle.

The graphics are a curious retro blend of cubic blocks. It looks blocks and simple and yet I have seen sunsets and deserts that took my breathe away. There is an artistry here that just has to be seen to be beleived.

The game alternates between relaxing and tense. It is relaxing when I am building a beach house with a pier. It is tense as fuck when I am underground stalking a skeleton that I can clattering nearby. When you dig into the earth, you often find natural caverns filled with monsters and rare resources. Torchlight will keep new monsters from spawning but you gotta place that torch there first. When the pressure of cavern crawling gets to be too much, I retreat above ground and make a greenhouse so my farm can grow crops without sheep trampling it. It is a game that provides entertainment no matter what my mood is.

That concludes my list. Funny how four of these games involve fantasy dungeons and treasure. Also, every game was made by a small indy studio. These games are lean mean fun times designed to entertain, not secure a multi million dollar X-box deal. I hope you have as much fun with them as I have.

Mar 122008
 

Kate had that look again. Her face was flushed and her eyes were half closed. I could see her hard nipples under that tight red tank top. She licked her lips and bit her bottom lip. Kate was about to fuck one of us up.

“Anthony, your character looks up just in time to see a panel in the ceiling open up. A heavy scythe comes swinging out and aiming for your chest. Roll your reflex save against a difficulty of 20.”

“Fuck!” Anthony said. Steve, Derrick and I laughed. Anthony had the worse dexterity stat out of all of us.

Anthony rolled his twenty sided die. It came up five.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Anthony said.

Kate laughed. We could hear her rolling dice behind her game screen. “Ouch,” she said in mock concern. “You take twelve points of damage.”

“Fuck!” Anthony yelled again. He took of his shirt and threw it to the floor. It joined his pants and shoes. Anthony was down to his underwear and he had less then ten hit points left.

Kate’s little rules made Dungeons and Dragons so much more interesting.

To read more, click Whole Post

“Tough luck,” Steve said. The bastard was gloating. His character was pretty healthy. He didn’t have any treasure yet but as soon as one of us died, he could just loot our dead characters’ bodies. Steve was patient.

“Yeah yeah, what’s down the corridor?” asked Derrick. Patience wasn’t one of Derrick’s virtues. He also had a ruby worth five hundred gold pieces that was making it worse. He wanted the rest of us to go ahead and die so he could turn that ruby in for a blowjob from Kate.

Kate licked her lips which I am sure didn’t help Derrick’s ability to control himself. “The corridor opens into a large room lit by flickering torches. You can see another corridor leading out on the opposite side. In the middle of the room are three statues with gems set between their breasts. The statues are of naked women and are easily ten feet tall.”

“Gems?” I said. Here was a chance to catch up with Derrick. “What kind?”

“You can’t tell from the hallway,” Kate said. She brushed her long red hair out of her face. “You want to step in the room and get a closer look?”

“Fuck no,” I said. “Anything lurking on the ceiling?”

“No,” Kate said.

“The floors have any weird tiles that we can see?” asked Steve.

“No,” Kate said.

“Now when you say statues, what kind of material do they look like they are made of?”

Before Kate could answer, Derrick scooped up his dice. “To Hell with this, I walk in and go to the statue with the biggest gem. I have my long sword and my shield ready. If something moves, I slash the shit out of it.

That’s what I love about Derrick. The dumb ass cuts right to the trap.

“I like a man with guts,” Kate said. She bit her bottom lip as she read her notes. “The biggest gem is a nice looking emerald on the center statue. Do you want to pry it out of the statue’s chest?”

“Hell, yeah,” Derrick said. “Emeralds are good for a tit job, right?”

Kat ran a finger down from her neck to her cleavage. “Yes.”

“I pry that emerald out, ready to slice the statue if it comes to life.

“What about you guys? What are you doing?” Kate asked.

“I’m too low on hit points,” Anthony said. “I get my bow ready. I’ve got arrows +2 ready in case they are magical.”

Steve laughed. “They have to be magical. I get my war hammer ready and get about ten feet from them. If they come to life, I want to see them coming.

“What about you, Jim?” Kate asked.

I looked at my character sheet. I was down 15 hit point and lost my shirt with nothing to show for it. If there was a really nasty trap like I thought there was, then the treasure might get destroyed. Even if I was the last player alive, surviving with no treasure just gets you a hand job from Kate. I had to start getting proactive.

“While Derrick is working on that statue, I go ahead and start prying one out of the other statues. What do they have?”

Kate smiled. “The one on the left holds a garnet and the one on the right is a sapphire.”

Hot damn. Did I want ten minutes playing with her tits or did I want a lapdance? I took another look at her tight tank top and decided I want to suck on those tits.

“I’ll get the garnet. But I am being really careful. I’m trying to take it out gently and I am not touching the statue at all.”

“All right,” Kate said. “Smart move, Jim. The garnet almost falls out and into your hand, as if your respect for the statue has caused it to give up its treasure. As for you, Derrick, as soon as you start grunting and pulling at the emerald, the statue comes to life. Every one needs to roll for initiative.”

The table rumbled with our dice rolls.

“I have a 17,” Steve said.

“With my feat bonuses, I have a 24, bitches,” Anthony said.

“19”, I said.

All Derrick said was “Shit.” He had rolled a 1.

Kate took control of the game. She was all business when combat broke out. My cock pulsed as soon as I heard the steel in her voice.

“Anthony, you’re first.”

“Is only Derrick’s statue alive?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Well I do nothing then,” Anthony said. “I would take a shot with my bow but I might hit Derrick.”

“Take the shot, asshole!” Derrick said. “I need all the help I can get.”

“Fuck you,” Anthony said. “It’s not worth getting disqualified.”

I had to laugh. Derrick insisted on the rule forbidding players from killing each other since the massacre at Dwarf Hill. We had backstabbed each other so much that all of us got wiped out by the ghosts in the final burial chamber. Ever since then, we made hitting each other punishable by disqualification. There is nothing like losing your shot at sex to keep an adventurer group in line.

Of course, that rule said nothing about just letting a party member die.

“Jim, it’s your turn,” Kate said.

“If the statue is not attacking me, I walk carefully to the statue with the sapphire and very gently get the gem out like I did last time.”

“You guys are a bunch of cock suckers,” Derrick said.

“You do the same thing and easily get the sapphire,” Kate said. “The statue in front of Derrick goes now. It swings its arm in a powerful arc right at you, Derrick. It hits an armor class of 19.”

“That nails me, “ Derrick said.

Kate rolled another die. “The statue hits you for 16 points of crushing damage.”

“Christ,” Derrick said. He took off his pants and his socks and added them to the pile. He was down to his underwear.

Kate’s face was flushing. Combat and stripping always got her hot. “What do you do, Steve?”

Steve sighed. “Since Jim already got the other gem, I’ll help Derrick out. I engage and attack with my war hammer. I hit an armor class of 9.”

“Not enough. It’s your go, Derrick.”

“Just run, man,” Anthony said. “You might survive the free hit.”

Derrick shook his head and pointed at Kate’s buxom chest. “And let Steve claim the emerald? I don’t think so.”

Rule #4- you kill it, you loot it. It was another one of Kate’s rules. If two or more people kill something, than we roll dice to determine who gets to claim the treasure. Steve once suggested that we share the treasure and have sort of an orgy victory party after every game. Kate has a low opinion of that. She said she only fucked winners.

The funny thing is that Derrick had a blow job owed to him for his ruby but he was going to risk it all for a tit job. This game makes people do crazy things.

“I attack,” Derrick said. “I hit an armor class of 17.”

“That’s a hit,” Kate said. “Roll for damage.”

“7 plus three, add my feat bonus is umm, 12.”

“Nice job,” Kate said. “You chopped the head right off.”

“Yes!” Derrick said.

“Don’t forget I helped!” Steve threw in.

“Don’t celebrate yet,” Kate said. “A cloud of green gas sprays out of the broken statue, filling the area. Steve and Derrick, make fortitude saves against a difficulty of 25. Jim, you’re just out of the blast radius.”

They frantically rolled their dice.

“Shit,” Steve and Derrick said together. Both of them had failed. I saw Anthony clench his fist in excitement.

It’s funny. I remember when we used to play before Kate joined us. We played as a team, taking down dungeon after dungeon like an all star army. Now we celebrate each other’s demise and fight like starving dogs to claim our prize. There are days when I almost miss the way we used to play but then I think of Kate. I think of her tits around my cock. I think of the sounds she makes when I slip inside her. I think of the one time I found a diamond and that that let me slip inside her tight ass. Christ, the way we used to play was fun but this, this was thrilling. My heart was pounding and my cock gets hard every time I get past another trap.

“Tough luck guys,” Kate said. “You each take 18 points of damage from inhaling the cursed gas.”

“Damn,” Derrick said. “I’m dead.” He stood up and took off his underwear. Despite the fact that we had seen each other’s cocks plenty of times in the last couple of months, we all found some excuse to look away. Kate didn’t though. She blew his hard cock a kiss. I think she liked eliminating us as much as she did fucking us.

“Well shit. Are there any other effects from the gas?” Steve asked.

“How long are you going to wait to find out?” Kate said.

“Fuck that, let’s keep moving,” Steve said.

“You sure?” I said. “We could wait and see what nasty thing happens to you next.”

Steve laughed. “If I am living on borrowed time, I want to keep moving. Maybe you assholes will die before I die of poison.”

“First things first,” Anthony said. “What about the ruby Derrick was carrying?”

“Oh, it’s in his backpack,” Kate said. “The backpack covered in poison dust. Maybe the poison has lost its potency. Want to risk it and dig the ruby out?

Anthony, Steve and I looked at each other. Derrick laughed. We thought about saving throws, medieval methods of handling poisonous matter and how deep Kate can get a cock down her throat.

As for Kate, she sat back and stayed quiet. Our Dungeon Mistress loved to see how far we would go for more of her treasures.

Mar 102008
 

While cleaning out my role-playing games, I came across this blast from the past. ‘Macho Women With Guns’ was a parody game that came out in 1988. Designed by Greg Porter, this game was a sarcastic rant against the current gaming industry. This was before Xena and Buffy so role-playing games marketing was rather aggressively targeted against horny males. A book about Dragon eating habits and spell lore would sport a full color cover of a half naked female lounging seductively on a pile of gold. Imagine Frazetta covers without the self restraint.

So this parody game was made to make fun of the pervasive female art that was slapped onto the covers of geeky rulebooks. To no one’s surprise and the original designer’s horror, people loved the game. It turns out that geeky guys who bought sexy covers wanted to actually do something with those half naked warrior chicks.

The original game was barely 12 pages of combat rules. All you did was make a character, and shoot the shit out of things on a map. Because it is a parody game from the 80’s, the things you shot at include Killer Rabbits, Hellkittens, Drunken Frat Boys, Congressional Subcommittees, TV evangelists and Isaac Azathoth. You had a selection of guns to choose from, and the option to make your character top heavy which gave you some penalties but on the plus side it made you have big tits.


I always thought the best part was that you HAD to play a Macho Woman. You had to play the object of your lust therefore creating a symbiotic understanding of how it feels to be treated like a life support system for a pair of breasts. Who am I kidding? I have seen grown men argue over who’s character had the bigger tits and which character could suck down the most aliens. It’s a game about some of our basest interests which in my opinion, is a fun thing.

In true gamer fashion, there were sequels. ‘Batwinged Bimbos From Hell’ covered playing demon girls with wings. ‘Renegade Nuns on Wheels’ covered vehicles and holy sluts. A last supplement came out called ‘The Final Chapter Part One’ which became a sort of over view for the supplements so you could have handy information in one place. Yes, the definition of a gamer geek is that even when playing top heavy demonic bimbos, you still want to make sure all the rules are right.

Eons later, the franchise was resurrected with a D20 version. For non-gamers out there, think of a D20 version as if someone took your old Atari games and made them playable on your Windows XP. At 40$ it was most difficult purchase I ever made in front of my wife. It’s the same wacky chauvinistic attitude with a lot more to offend people with. I like it for its sheer audacity. I mean, if I spend an hour making a barbarian warrior with D20 rules, at least the character now has oral skills, a Ralph Lauren fur bikini and a breast size that was determined by a complex math formula.

What amazes me is how far we have come. Tomb Raider, Xena, Le Femme Nikita and the hundred and one gun toting babes from Stargate and Star Trek have made Macho Women a standard where they were once a parody cliche. The game started as a joke based in base sexual impulses but after a few decades, our desires are refined into mainstream entertainment.

*Bonus* Below is a sheet of cut-out characters. Print them, cut them and amaze your friends!

Feb 222008
 

So I had this long intelligent post about the nature of games and erotica and how the two are connected. It was such a long rambling post that two story ideas spun out of it and now I think if I pre-discuss it, the stories will lose their impact.

It’s kind of like writing a discussion about how giant animals are stand ins for a writer’s ego and then then writing King Kong.

So instead I am going to give you a link that will consume your entire weekend. Ready?

Play This Thing is a blog that reviews mostly free games you should play. Today’s post is about a game you shouldn’t play but trust me, you want to play the other 324 games listed here. They range from board games, to role-playing games to computer games. The computer games were my favorite part as they feature games made by independent studios who rather have fun with their game than a high blood polygon count. Their demos are free and if you like them, spring for the affordable prices and support some great game makers.

The games I am currently hooked on include FastCrawl, where a randomly generated party takes on a randomly generated dungeon and the game wraps up within half an hour. I swore I would never play another dungeon game again and I am hooked on this.

I also love Aquaria. This simple game is really beautiful. It may just be the most gorgeous and most soothing game I have played.

Iron Dukes is a wacky game about steampunk underwater treasure diving and pirate fighting. It is the kind of game a young Dr. Otto Von Madd would play.

Have fun.