Podcast Episode 3- 50% women!

ttp://www.podbean.com/media/player/2xeuy-5cb23e

Show notes:
We played Betrayal at House on the Hill in our first Table Top Tuesday.
Don’t Starve:Shipwrecked
Pandemic:Cthulu
Aether Captains on Kickstarter (since cancelled)
Why Undertale is the BEST GAME EVAH!!!

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Podcast Episode 2 – What is Tic Tac Toe?

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/s4pu8-5c78b4

What is Tic Tac Toe anyway?
Table Top Tuesday in the Black Sheep in Dublin, Ireland!!!
The Division.
I was talking about APB!
Super expensive Cast Metal Dice.
Chinese New Year in Heroes of the Storm.
Civilization the Boardgame.

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5 Reasons You Should Play Heroes Of The Storm.

 

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If you’re a long time fan of Blizzard games it should have been no surprise when they expanded their already amazing and broad franchises by adding a MOBA, HOTS and now a shooter, Overwatch. I’m not here to talk about Overwatch just yet, but if you haven’t already looked it up you should do so now. But with more established MOBAs in the running, why should you be playing Heroes of the Storm apart from the fact that its totally free?

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1. It is extremely easy to play.

Like most MOBAS things can get pretty complicated very quickly. However with heroes the learning curve is gentle. Blizzard eases you into the game with easy to play heroes such as Raynor and LiLi. Each character is given a difficulty rating and each one is garnered to give you a unique playing style. For example Raynor has damage and durability so you are less likely to need a healer and to die while still being essential to the team dynamic in relation to your damage output. You can inspire your minions to help push lanes solo or jump into a team fight quickly to help out on securing objectives.

On the other hand you have more difficult characters like Abathur. He never actually enter the playing field physically.  Instead you have to watch your team, map and positioning and can either use your locust ability’s to push lanes or use what is referred to as a top hat to place over your team mates heads, helping them heal, do damage or giving them buffs.

As you can tell, this takes quite allot of skill and attention which can either make or break a team. Whats handy is that you can opt for training on your own or with people to establish how to play and work maps which can be quite beneficial for learning characters and if you want to join as a team then it’s easy to be able to establish each persons role quickly.

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2. The co-operative play is very enjoyable and also essential.

Hots also has a recruit a friend option which allows you to reap rewards while grouped up with people you enjoy playing with. Leveling with a friends is also better as you get an experience bonus. This applies to not just your personal level but to your characters’ as well. If you are going to play as a team communication with them is vital for the occasional gank, boss/mercinary steal or split pushing objectives. You can ping for assistance, defense or danger to help team mates out. If you are quick on the draw, typing to them also works but is not advised.

They will be bringing in a chat function option eventually. It hasn’t been confirmed for a specific date, this will add to an already enjoyable co-op game. Of course,  like with all games of this type you do get the odd troll. Luckily, there is a mute and block button so you wont get teamed up with them again which is great.

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3. It’s rich in lore and characters.

Ever since I started playing wow a few years ago I have always tried to transmog my look on Sylvanas and now in the nexus I get to play her. The same goes for the other heroes in the game. Playing Valla and Johanna got me into Diablo recently. A game I would never have thought to play. I just needed to know their story and what better way to do that than by playing them myself. While I haven’t gotten the itch to play Starcraft just yet, a friend of my is tempted to start because she enjoys playing Zagarra an Kerrigan so much.

Blizzard are always looking to break the mold when it comes to characters and play style and with the introduction of Cho Gall to the nexus just before Christmas that is exactly what they did. One player plays Cho the warrior and the other plays Gall the assassin. Cho moves while Gall does all of the dmg so working together is essential to playing this character. I also loved that you couldn’t buy Cho Gall outright to begin with. To obtain the characters you have to actively play with people who either bought a ticket to Blizzcon or bought a virtual ticket. It helped to grow the community and the gold rewards where worth it. The custom skin and mount variations just add to an already artistically beautiful game and characters and they are definitely one to keep and eye on. There are so many to bail down an actual favorite but I would have to say Pirate Falstad and Billy the Goat mount are top of my lists.

It is always super exciting to see who will come into the nexus next and Blizzard always does a fantastic job interacting with their community which just adds to an overall awesome experience.

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4. The classes and consistent balance reviews are great.

There are four distinctive roles in HOTS which then branch off into sub genres. There is your standard tank, healer and damage class which can be found in just about every Blizzard game and beyond. Then you have the specialists.

Specialists are good for a variety of things. Some can lane solo like Zagara. Others excel at taking mercenary camps at really low levels. Others, like the Banshee Queen Sylvanas can eat ammo on towers with her trait alone. So these four classes combined plus one extra class dependent on your team composition can be quite deadly to the opposing team.

Constant review and patch updates allow blizzard to make sure that each hero is fair and balanced. They even fix environments and maps and, again, always listen to their community in that respect, which is awesome. This makes the game more enjoyable overall.

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5. Maps galore!

There are currently ten maps or battlegrounds as they are known in Heroes of the Storm. They tend to rotate in and out maps as the patches and new characters come and go which is a great way to keep things current. What I love about the maps and environments is that each one is unique and Blizzard are always looking to go beyond those games already dominating the MOBA genra.

For instance Black Hearts Bay (a World of Warcraft themed Map) has you collect and turn in gold coins to earn bombardments against your other teams structures. The Infernal Shrines (a Diablo map) has you kill shrine minions to gain favor with a punisher who will target heroes and who each has their own special ability’s. The Garden of Terror and The Dragon Shire maps allow you to secure avatars which will help you deal extensive siege damage to an enemy’s structures. The recent addition Towers of Doom has you team fight to gain shrine control to bombard the other teams core. Each maps objective is unique and valuable to each team so doing them is important and generally fun/frustrating.

The artwork and detail that goes into each map is exceptional and they wouldn’t be Blizzard I they didn’t leave little hidden references in each one. For instance in the Tomb of the Spider Queen map if you click on a specific gem for long enough Harrison Jones will climb down and claim it. In the Towers of Doom you can find the ghost of resurrection near your core and if clicked she will repeat what she tells you in Warcraft before you resurrect. The only map they haven’t done yet which I am extremely looking forward to is a Starcraft themed or Overwatch themed one. Space Lord Leoric was recently released and I think they may have given a glimpse of a spaceship themed map which would be awesome.

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So there you have it, my five reasons to play Heroes of the Storm. I you enjoyed this article and wish to play the game I recommend checking out MFPallytime’s how to videos as they can be quite beneficial and it eases you into the game a little bit more. Anyway thanks for reading, don’t forget to subscribe and I look forward to seeing you all in the Nexus.

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No Touching: Should Parlor LARPs ban contact?

Most of my role play experiences involve sitting around a table describing the story and slipping into character for dialogue.  I do, however, love a con game and, thanks to Team Coffey and Ice Cream, I’ve had even more opportunities to experience once off parlor larps.

The Last Summer Weekend is one such event that I’ve been enjoying for years now.  It’s run in the last weekend of the Irish summer, which is the end of July.  It plays overnight from the Saturday evening till the Sunday morning. And, most importantly, all the games are themed for horror.  I love horror.  Not everyone makes it through the whole night, but the event was a huge success for me with three well written and well run games that were all memorable in their own ways.

But this isn’t an event review, I want to talk about a particular issue with larping that is mentioned at every event I’ve attended in the last few years, but isn’t, generally, taken very seriously.  Physical contact with other players.

To be clear, I don’t really have many boundaries when it comes to larping.  In fact, I’ll shift my boundaries away from the ones I have in everyday life to suit a character.  For example, while I might not like someone I’ve never met getting right up in my personal space or touching me on the leg or whatever, my character might enjoy that, or be too nervous to say anything.  That, to me, is a big part of what makes role playing engaging.

So I think we can presume that these contact rules are not for me.  But then, who are they for?  Why are they there? And are they working as intended?

Violence is an easy issue to analyse. I have almost no experience in field larps, but I believe there’s a host of rules making sure that no one gets seriously hurt.  In a parlor game, it’s easier to just say, “no contact” and have GMs manage physical conflict out of character.

But when I asked around a little, the first thing people suggested to me, was that it might be about sexual behaviour.  I have played in many games and LARPs with sexual content, some consensual and some power based and that can certainly become uncomfortable with or without physical contact. For someone with personal experience with sexual violence or harassment, for example, a confrontation of this sort could add serious stress to what was planned as a fun evening of escapism.

At first, I wondered if that was the problem?  I’m not really an escapist.  I don’t get anything out movies that are ‘just fun’ or games that just ‘pass the time’.  When I engage with entertainment I expect it to challenge me.  And in an interactive setting, that will likely clash with those who really don’t want a challenge in their downtime.  Especially the kind of super personal and emotionally charged challenge that comes from intense role play games, like those themed for horror.

And yet, it’s not as simple as saying, ‘game A will be for fun, and game B will be emotional and challenging, pick your poison’.  Even in an over 18s settings, it’s not unreasonable for organisers to have limits to play, but every game is subject to its’ players whims to an extent. Using ‘it was in character’ as an excuse for bad behaviour is the oldest trick in the book, and I’m all for shutting that right down. I’m just not convinced that touch is a relevant place to draw the line.

The other side of the argument, is that touch is an important element of human communication.  I once found myself in a game standing shoulder to shoulder with someone who was (IC) about to crack.  We were relegated to the sidelines, listening to someone rant out in the open, and he was becoming visibly angry and upset at what was being said.  I didn’t open might mouth, I didn’t make eye contact.  I just lent my shoulder firmly against his until his shaking subsided.  We talked (IC) afterwards and by the end of the game he sought me out (OOC) to tell me how much that had meant to him.  It was one of those rare moments that stick out in my memory as powerful and meaningful.  And the more aware I’ve been made about the increasing push against touching, the more I’ve realised that I don’t want to lose that.

I honestly think that well intentioned people fight for these rules, I’ve fight for them.  But when there isn’t a clear reason why or it’s not clear that the rules are actually helping, we need to take a step back.  Trigger warnings have become murky territory for this very reason, and Political Correctness, while attacked regularly by people who want a free pass to be jerks, has also become a very old fashioned and shallow way of dealing with diversity, especially if applied to private individuals rather than governments or businesses.

Of course you might say that one persons comfort is more important than anothers satisfaction, in this case, but asking around gave me the impression that this approach is accepted because it’s well intentioned, without ever asking if it’s well informed.

Instead of setting universal boundaries with no context, I think we can have systems that open us all to learning more compassion.  Having safe spaces to retreat to, and clear discussions about consent and personal responsibility can go a long way towards developing a deeper trust between players and GMs.  These are the kinds of things I want to see more of, but I wonder if those who benifit from the ‘no touching’ rules would agree?

Posted in Boundaries, Gaming, Horror, LARP, RPG | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fight Club 3 for Pathfinder – Character Sheets are Obsolete!

It’s been quite a while, but we’re starting up a D&D, Pathfinder session again.  A friend is coming over to the Girls Get Gaming house once a week to run it for us, and since we’re all a bit rusty he’s starting at level one.

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Wow, there some 3.5 books in there…

Now I absolutely love Pathfinder.  I’m primarily a role player rather than a rules person, but building the character’s stats and collecting the equipment is just so satisfying.  Unlike most pencil and paper gamers, however, I am not a fan of character sheets.

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I was playing Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights years before I rolled a d20.  I understood that these games were based on D&D, but I hated the idea of having to calculate everything myself.  That’s what computers are for, they do all the boring stuff in the background so we can focus on having fun?  It’s not that I don’t like maths, I just don’t like repetitive, endless addition.

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Who’s idea was THACO anyway?!?

When I was converted to role playing, it was through narrative heavy, rules light systems, but I had to play D&D eventually, and surprise, surprise, I loved it.  Predictably, years later, I’m still not a fan of character sheets.  So when it came to rolling up a new Barbarian, I took out my iPad and searched for an app.

One of these aps is not like the other.

One of these aps is not like the others…

I’ve done this a lot.  Whether it’s an app or an interactive PDF, I’ve never found anything that quite ticked all the boxes before.  But this time I got lucky.

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The right side of the screen scrolls through much more info, but this is what’s important. The skills filter, but you can show all too.

A deceptively simple creature, called Fight Club, has everything I need.  It calculates my hit and damage based on stats, equipment and any custom bonuses, items or conditions I need to add. The basic stuff is built in, but you can make custom anything, whether it’s race, class or equipment.  It pretty much does everything a character sheet does, plus custom dice rolls, plus all the boring addition.

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This is the edit screen, you can do a lot calculations here that will update with further level or ability score changes.

The only issue I had involved the fact that I’m building my first ever barbarian.  You can’t set a list of conditions to turn on and off on a regular basis, such as rage. You have to fill in all the bonuses an penalties every time.  Thankfully, the dev’s facebook page was super helpful, and now I’m using custom items to equip and unequip my rage, so to speak.

I keep my rage in my breast pocket for emergencies!

I keep my rage in my breast pocket for emergencies!

This app has me seriously excited about leveling up and making an attempt at a barbarian/monk multi-class.  But most of all I’m looking forward to smashing some zombie skulls!

– Siobhan

SiobhanSiobhan is an artist who was raised on every type of game and make believe.  She grew up rescuing fuzzy animals and the occasional princess, slaying monsters and competing with her older brother.  Now she’s a fan of befriending monsters, playing co-op and getting lost in a good story.  When she’s not gaming, Siobhan works as a 3D artist in Brown Bag Films, enjoys anime, writing and crafts.

Posted in D&D, Gaming, i-pad, mobile, Pathfinder, RPG | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ireland Cosplay Convention

This year was the return of Irelands foremost Cosplay Convention to the Red Cow Hotel. The Convention was packed with con-goes, artist selling their wares and doing on the spot commissions and number of small businesses pimping their work, such as handmade jewellery, paintings & cupcakes (always a con favourite).  The trader table was showing off all the comics & toys you’d expect to see at a convention with even Star Trek & Star Wars fan site tables, recruiting people to their cause.

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The amount of attendees in all manner of cosplay was sight to behold. One that warms my heart. We had Star Wars Imperial Troops leading Darth Vader around. People braving the heat in full furry cosplay. As well as gaming cosplayers, from Assassin Creed to League of Legends. Marvel cosplayers, such as Agent Carter & Star Lord, & everything in between. The quality was to the standard that you see at the big American cons, such as SDCC & NYCC. Which just goes to show that even though we’re a small community we still have some very talented people in our midst. It is wonderful to see the the people dressed in normal clothing were the minority at this con and there was so much love for the outfits.

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The highlight for most of the people in costume would have been the Cosplay Competition that was held in the afternoon. The judges were Without a Stich On, Tina Branigan from Cyanide Kisses and Stephen Lynch of Widdle Wade. They were judging on the accessory of the costume as well as how  people played their character. Each person had a few minutes on stage, with music playing, to act out a little scene in character. All the competitors had some stellar outfits & some very large props on hand. The winner was Emma Murphy, who won a trip to the Cosplay Masters, which is happening in Portugal later in the year. This is a fantastic prize & shows how seriously organisers take cosplay. People where not shy about wanting to have their photo taken & had in-character poses ready for the camera. They also took full advantage of the beautiful day outside to do plenty of group shots.

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There was also a games rooms set up, as part of the con. Pen & paper RPGs being run by members of the Irish Gaming Association. Old school consoles, such as the N64, set up as well as an Xbox 360 & a merriment of boardgames. There was even a Hearthstone tournament running throughout the day. This is always a nice addition to a non gaming convention. It gives people something to do in between panels. Somewhere they can sit down with their friends & enjoy a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, keeping them entertained, during the lulls. It also introduces people to Pen & Paper RPGs & grows that Irish community and once they’ve rolled their first dice and found out there are more cons out there just for gaming they are hooked.

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The whole con ended with a concert. A number of different groups playing all manor of loud, get up & dance music. This gave attendees two options, dance or go relax in the game room. Which, for people like myself who just want to sit down & relax after a hard day of con-going, is always pleasant. They played long into the evening meaning people could just socialise & leave at their own pace.

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Over all the con was a huge success, success being judge here on the enjoyment had within the con. It was well laid out, for the space they had, which consisted of three large(ish) rooms & a hallway. There was a loads to see and a good bit to do, but most importantly everyone had a smile on their face. Happy con-goers make for a great con and it means people will come back for more, become more invested in the cosplay world and maybe even venture out into the other gaming & sci-fi cons that Ireland has to offer. Such as Octocon, 9-11th of October & Gaelcon 23-26th of October.

– Matty

1898034_10153803778790237_176034892_nMatty is a prop maker, cosplayer and go toer of Cons. He is probably Girls Get Gaming’s primary pusher of obscure and unique board games and goes week at the knees for a pretty kick starter. You can see his latest work at https://www.facebook.com/MattyMakes and he sure as hell takes commissions.

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Transylvania Curses and Traitors – Let’s Play Board Games

Not a bad game on the first play through.  Easy to pick up and simple to explain.  Good keys, good art, good gender diversity, almost no racial diversity at all.  The character designs were pretty hit and miss.  Apparently, the more armor a woman wears, the more skin she has to show.  Maybe it’s a balance thing?

Posted in Art, Board Games, Gaming, Horror, let's play | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment