Entry for January 31, 2008: Games people play, continued

On Sunday, 27 January 2008, Janice and I met birthday boy Beruk A. and Thomas K.Y. for the "Death by Chocolate" charity event at the Sheraton Newton hotel. For $15 per person, we got to taste confections from about a dozen local restaurants and bakeries and rate them for best cake, cookie, brownie, and candy. We also got to judge the most unique dessert, observe a silent auction, and chat about politics and gaming. Beruk, Thomas, and I plan to meet again this coming Sunday for Day Watch, the second installment in a Russian modern fantasy/horror film trilogy.

Speaking of gaming, the D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" face-to-face group has been going strong on Tuesday nights: Sara F.'s boyfriend Josh C. joined the Arabian fantasy campaign this week. The current Boston-area Player Character party is between quests in the Halmed Desert at the moment.

However, the Thursday night "Holy Steel" teleconferencing team of Dexter V.H./"Faelonia" and Byron V.O./"Ibrahim" and the Sunday morning City of Heroes online supergroup have run into scheduling snafus. Apparently, getting people with careers and families in multiple cities to coordinate schedules is difficult, but I have been in touch with other out-of-town friends, including Damon F.P., Ray C., Corbin A.Y., and David A.H.

In addition, with Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition (D&D4e) approaching, fellow role-player and Game Master Brian W. and I have been evaluating that and alternative rules systems, including Green Ronin's True 20 (a streamlined version of the D&D3.5/D20 Open Game License), Steve Jackson Games' Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS) 4th Ed., and Pinnacle Entertainment's Savage Worlds.

I like True 20, which is similar to the Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed. superhero game. Brian and I have played and run GURPS, but we've found a lack of support for the latest edition and a steep learning curve to be intimidating to newer gamers. Savage Worlds, which originated as a pulp game, may provide a good balance of simplicity, flexibility, and genre neutrality, but EnWorld.org and Wizards of the Coast's latest previews of D&D4e still promise to make preparing for and running sessions easier. Character creation is still being debated, both within our group and in the wider community.

Of course, the big game that most people are thinking of (including fellow blogger Steve M.R.) is the Super Bowl, which I hope will be more exciting than the Miss America Pageant. At least the Screen Actor's Guild award show had some star power amid the ongoing writers' strike. Speaking of contests, I've been playing Scrabulous with Janice and Erik B.L. while it's still available through Facebook, and I've signed up for a Jeopardy-style competition at work.

Next time: weekend update and politics!