A Name that Will Go Down in Infamy

by Bob MacWordell

Despite my feelings about where the real villains are to be found, I finally got the opportunity at Gen Con to play Villainy, the new supervillain-themed game from Mayfair. I had fun! One of the most interesting parts happens at the beginning of the game when you build your supervillain nom de guerre from a variety of chits with different words on them. It reminded me a bit of those magnetic poetry things you get for your refrigerator door.

As much fun as the game itself turned out to be, this bit simply fascinated me. I began toying with random supervillain name generators. I’m going to share one with you now. All you’ll need to play along at home is a ten-sided die. So untie your chainmail or Crown Royal bags, dig out your proper dice, and let’s get to villaining!

There are three columns. You can choose whether to roll on all three columns or just two. If you feel that, as a supervillain, you need the gravitas that a title brings, roll on all three in order. If you think you can live without that kind of frippery, just roll on Columns 2 and 3. Arrange those in whatever order you think sounds the most villainous and feel free to add a definitive article if you think it helps.

Column 1 (Titles)

  1. Count
  2. Baron
  3. Professor
  4. Doctor
  5. General
  6. Major
  7. Mister/Miss/Ms./Mrs.
  8. Lady/Lord
  9. King/Queen
  10. Mother/Father

Column 2

  1. Dark
  2. Black/Ebon
  3. Blood
  4. Death
  5. Doom
  6. Killer
  7. Bad
  8. Poison
  9. Red/Crimson
  10. Evil

Column 3

  1. Death/Fatal
  2. Blade/Knife/Dagger
  3. Rage
  4. Fear
  5. Rot/Decay
  6. Poison/Venom
  7. Stone
  8. Void
  9. Snow/Frost/Cold
  10. Snake/Serpent/Dragon

Easy, right? But endless fun. Here are a few of my favorite my dice and I came up with.

  • Baron Fatal Black
  • Mr. Rage Killer
  • General Bad Stone
  • Professor Dark Snake
  • The Crimson Void
  • Blood Frost
  • Fatal Death

Okay, that last one’s no good. But it’s a random generator, so they can’t all be gold. Play with it, and put your favorites in the comments.

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Ledgermandary Mistake

by Angus McPeters

In some ways, friends, it seemed that Gen Con 2014 had been engineered to be one slap to the face of my dignity after another. You’ve already heard about the rampant handism and how my lack of fingers put me in a position of ridicule. Just when you thought my public humiliation could sink no lower, there came the Cones of Dunshire.

For those of you not aware, the Cones of Dunshire is a game created by Ben Wyatt, a character on the always enjoyable Parks and Rec. I love that show and have since the moment I first saw it. And, as an avid board gamer and dabbler in game design, I could understand Ben’s tilting at cardboard windmills as he created the most complicated game since “find your car after the really good party.”

And when my beloved Mayfair announced that they would be creating a Cones of Dunshire for August 2014, my heart thrilled. Not because the game would make any sense or necessarily even be considered playable. No, it tugged my heartstrings because it represented the culmination of every quixotic quest made real.

And Mayfair delivered right on schedule…only better! Instead of merely playing the Cones of Dunshire around my dining room table, I could play it live at GenCon! The price tag, at first, seemed ridiculously steep, even for a place that nearly required a second mortgage to get a chai latte.

But then I realized that the game would be live sized! We’d play on gigantic pieces of carpet replicating the game board. And that the high price was for charity! The first ever Cones of Dunshire game would raise money for the Gleaners Food Bank. A worthwhile organization if ever I’ve heard of one.

So far so good, right? Well, enter indignity, stage right.

Although when you play the game you have the option of being one of 8-12 wizards, a maverick, an arbiter, and a corporal, arguably the most coveted role is that of Ledgerman. You see, the Ledgerman keep score. And, most importantly, wears a captain’s hat emblazoned with LEDGERMAN.

If you ever need to know who the most important person in a game or religious organization is, just check the headwear.

Now, we all know that, even in that convention center of gamers, I am their Grand Poobah. Yet, somehow, I did not become the Ledgerman. So how do you think one would go about choosing the most important person in this most important of games? Some sort of play off? A vote for best gamer? Perhaps a fight to the death a’la Star Trek’s Amok Time?

No, friends, it is none of these. Instead, Mayfair held an auction. Skill would not decide who would bear the chapeau of the Ledgerman. Not even that fickle mistress popularity would hold sway. For this most important of positions overseeing this most important of occasions, only filthy lucre would do the talking.

And we all know what does the walking when money does the talking, don’t we friends?

“But Angus,” you’re probably squealing, “the money from the auction went to charity!”

Don’t you people understand that games are nothing to play around with? And don’t tell me about charity! Charity, as they say, begins at home. MY home. As the Ledgerman of life, I give this event a big fat ZERO CONES.

I’m going to go console myself with a Parks and Rec marathon.

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Ner-errrds! Come Out and Play!

by Bob MacWordell

While Angus ran around getting his feelings hurt, I took some time at GenCon to speak to one of the men responsible for the good gamers do: J.R. Honeycutt of DFW Nerd Night, a group that organizes game nights where the grand community of gamers can come together to help people by doing what they’d be doing anyway. Check out the video!

Really, that’s pretty brilliant. I mean, I was already going to let my hindquarters expand across one of Angus’s dining room chairs all night. Why not do it while meeting other like-minded folks and helping the less fortunate?

And that conversation got me to thinking. What else do I enjoy doing that I wish would also help the less fortunate? So, in no particular order, here are a few activities I wish some enterprising soul like Mr. Honeycutt would turn into charities:

  • Sipping a hazelnut latte at Caffiendishly Clever and staring contemplatively into the middle distance.
  • Living La Vespa Vita.
  • Doing a sweet old-school kickflip on my deck.
  • Calling my mom.
  • Watching Gray’s Anatomy reruns.
  • Watching new episodes of Gray’s Anatomy.
  • Practicing my bassoon.

Okay, that ought to keep everyone busy. Make sure you email me when you’ve got these things ready to go as charity functions. And if, by some miracle, you’re already supporting these activities for charitable purposes, just give me a shout out in the comments.

And another special thinks to Mr. Honeycutt and his wonderful organization, DFW Nerd Night. You, sir, are one of the good ones.

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Taking the Con Problem in Hand

by Angus McPeters

Recently, I had the good pleasure of attending Gen Con, the biggest gaming convention in the WORLD. And overall, I had an extremely enjoyable time. It’s always good to get into a room with a couple billion people who share your love of games and gaming. But in every garden of delights, there is the smell of some compost. And for Gen Con, that smell is handism.

The spectre of handism – the preferential treatment of those with hands over those with, say, hooves – is an embarrassment. And in gaming, I can think of no greater way to rub this embarrassment in my face than Mayfair’s new title Mad City.

I had an opportunity to learn the game from the creator, the inestimable Kane Klenko, at Gen Con. And while Mr. Klenko is, himself, a wonderful human being, he is hopelessly blind to his hand privilege. And Mad City is the cherry on the handism sundae.

Mad City demands quick thinking and dexterity. And while I have quick thinking in every conceivable capacity, dexterity is a very broad term. Does it require me to do cartwheels? Or balance several-inch-high stacks of plates on a platter upon each hoof? (Both of which I can do, because they’re easy.) No, it requires manual dexterity. The ability to manipulate tiles in turns that last only a minute. And also to, at a moment’s notice, grab a tree!

I have no fingers, friends. Picking up cardboard tiles by the edges is literally impossible unless I employ both hooves and an extremely deft touch. As you can imagine, neither of these lends itself toward speed. And grabbing a tree without fingers is as impossible as grabbing sunlight with them.

So I look towards the future. A future where I will not have my rights stamped upon by those with fingers. A future where I can attend the Essen Game Fair – yes, Essen Game Fair, the eyes of the gamers are upon you – and not expect to be accosted by Klenko and his adherents. I ask for a ban. A ban on Klenko and Mad City!

How long, I ask you, will we wait for that mansion on the hill that doesn’t have doorknobs? No longer, friends! Who will stand with me against hands? Who will stand hand-in—

Et tu, English Language?

There is no refuge. And the struggle is real. Thank you for your time and attention.

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Horror Games that Were Too Beautiful to Live

by Angus McPeters

I’ve been told I think about gaming too much. But isn’t that like saying one breathes too much? I believe I think about gaming just the right amount of time, which is always. So, when I recently watched a horror movie marathon, for the next week, I kept pitching awesome games to Mayfair Games, but sadly without any success. Nevertheless, I feel the Internet should be graced with the knowledge of games that could have been.

Alien the Board Game: The game starts with you waking up in a strange, hostile environment. You don’t know why or how you got here, but menacing creatures are hunting you down. You must hide and somehow fight back, but there are 6 of these frightful creatures, not including the one whose chest you initially burst out of. Will you survive to start a new colony on this mysterious new planet where the ship is heading? Larry rejected this game because he felt the violence against humans was too much, but I thought it was just right.

Halloween the Board Game: You are a lunatic, about to unleash your crazy on the world.  But what brand of crazy? Think American Psycho meets What Not to Wear. Murder weapon? Guns are effective, but everyone is using guns these days. Boring! And what about that outfit? Are you wearing Khaki shorts? Is this a murder spree or a job interview for a golf course caddy position? You need to now work to find that balance of fashion, functionality, and terror. Sadly, this game will never see the light of day, as Larry kicked me out of his office before I could finish the full proposal.

Godzilla the Board Game: This is a game that celebrates what Godzilla does best, stomping and chomping. You get points for what you stomp, and you grow from everything you chomp. So, gulping down that banking foreclosure specialist might not bring you any victory points, but it might give you the girth you need to turn an SUV into a SU-Frisbee. Do you have what it take to bring the world to its knees, or will the world snuff you out in the prime of your squashing-stuff years?  Sadly this game will never see the light of day, because after the previous after the previous two pitches Larry stopped replying to my emails.

So, there you go. Three great games that will sadly never be. Oh well, I just hope this horror movie marathon doesn’t give you nightmares.

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