GMing (Part 7): The End of a Game Session

Four gamers sitting at a table playing Dungeons and Dragons. There are character sheets, dice, and pencils on the table, as well as empty food bowls and several empty (or almost empty) drink glasses, indicating that the game is at an end.The evening is drawing to a close. The session is ending. You’re nearing the end of the time allotted for tonight’s game. All done, right? Time to say, ‘See you next session!’ and pack up your stuff and go?

Not quite.

The end of a game session is at least as important as the beginning. Before you call it a night, there are a few important details that you should cover. In this entry, we shall look at some of the essential issues to consider at the end of your session.

Stopping Points

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is where to stop. The exact end point will depend on several factors: Continue Reading →

Geocaching Game Designer: J Keller (interview)

A photo of interviewee J Keller and his son, co-creator Jason Keller, standing outside during a geocaching excursion.Last week, I posted a review of the game Geoquest. This week, I have the privilege of sharing an interview I was able to do with the creators, geocaching enthusiasts J Paul Keller and his son Jason. Unfortunately, the audio recording I made of the interview did not record Jason’s input, so his dialogue will not be included. However, pretty much everything he said was reiterated by his father, so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything just because his words don’t appear below!

PinkFae: So what made you guys decide to make this game?

J Keller: We love games, and we’re pretty active in geocaching. I think we ended up looking for one, and there wasn’t anything out there, and we thought we could probably do that. It kind of evolved about ten years. We made a prototype, and it was fun, and it started getting better and better, so we thought, ‘Let’s see if we can actually do this.’ Continue Reading →

Board Game Review: Geoquest

The front cover of the box for Geoquest. The title, in yellow, with a compass rose in the center of the capital letter Q, in the upper right, with the subtitle 'Geocaching Adventure Game', superimposed over a photo of wooden steps built into a trail leading through a forest.One of the advantages of living in the early 21st century is that there are print-on-demand services available for just about everything you might want. Games are no exception; through the Gamecrafter website, anyone can design and sell their own board or card games! This means that if anyone wants to play a game based on a certain topic, but such a game does not exist, they can make their own. Such is the case with the new game Geoquest.

J Keller and his son Jason are board game enthusiasts who wanted to find a game that captured the enjoyment they get from their other hobby, geocaching. They were unable to find such a game, however, so they created their own. It’s only just recently become available on Gamecrafter, but they were kind enough to send me a copy. I was able to play with some of my friends, so today I will review it for you.

And as an added bonus, next week, I will post an interview I had with the creators! Until then, we start as always with the ratings. Continue Reading →

Party Gaming: The Dangers of Playing with Non-Gamers

A group of people at a party sitting around a table playing The Resistance.I recently went to a November holiday party. We played The Red Dragon Inn and a few other games. I became quite angry during the course of the evening, as people were playing the game wrong.

OK, that’s not really a fair statement. Technically, there’s not a wrong way to play a game, as long as everyone is having fun. But, of course, I was not having fun. And that can be the problem with playing games at a party. People play games for different reasons. The problem comes in when those reasons are at odds with one another.

This is not to say that board games have no place at a party. Rather, that the decision to play a game depends on several factors. Not least of which is the people with whom you are playing. Continue Reading →

GMing (Part 6): Beginning a Campaign or Session

A road, beginning at the bottom of the image and stretching away from the viewer into the background, fading in the distance. In the foreground, the word 'start' is stenciled on the road in large white letters. Last time, we talked about running a game session. However, there is an important corollary that goes along with this idea. That is the the understanding of how to begin a game session. But this concept of a beginning doesn’t apply exclusively to game sessions: the beginning of a campaign is just as important (in some ways, more so!). So we’re going to talk about beginning things in today’s session.

For those less familiar with gaming, a trope exists about most campaigns beginning in a tavern. The location of the beginning is less an issue than the nature of the characters themselves. I wrote an in-depth discussion of the concern on my other blog. In short, the first session of a campaign often starts with the characters, who have never met, in the same tavern. There are problems with this approach, which we will discuss later in this article. The important point here: the beginning of a campaign or game session is very important.

Continue Reading →

Board Game Review: Widow’s Walk for Betrayal at House on the Hill

A display photo of the Widow's Walk box.Back in 2004, Avalon Hill released an innovative board game called Betrayal at House on the Hill. A friend had a copy, and I got to play it, and loved it so much I bought a copy. It became popular, and many of my friends loved playing it. It soon went out of print, though… but demand increased. So in 2010, they released a second edition, with improved parts and corrections. It continued to be popular. So everyone continued to wonder why such a popular game had no expansions. Earlier this year, they announced the first expansion: Widow’s Walk.

This review is going to be a little different. Instead of reviewing the game itself, I’m going to review an expansion. If you’re not familiar with the base game, you can read my review over on my other site.  Continue Reading →