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D&D Summer Camp #1: The Great Watermelon Fake Out

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30 May 2019 00:00 #297802 by Michael Barnes
Summer is here at stately Barnes manor, and the kids...

The adventures of Sprax and Ivy begin!

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30 May 2019 18:45 #297803 by ubarose
This so awesome!

Also my D & D character has a similar backstory to your daughter’s except mine was raised by wolves, is dumb as a stick and bites.
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30 May 2019 21:26 #297814 by san il defanso
We've had this conversation on Twitter, but regular D&D play has killed my interest in dungeon crawl and adventure games. Only really stripped down, loose stuff like Dungeonquest and Talisman interest me now. Anything more complex than that is up against D&D, and it frankly doesn't stand a chance in that fight.
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30 May 2019 21:43 #297815 by Gary Sax
I'm torn on that one, San. I think RPGs are a heavier emotional lift so that separates them from the adventure boardgames. If you have the energy for that lift, I agree with you.

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30 May 2019 21:51 #297816 by san il defanso
A lot depends on a group, of course. My group now is very laid-back about roleplaying, so it's kind of a low-stress endeavor for me.

Adventure games tend to fare a little better against RPGs, although I have kind of a ceiling of complexity that I want to mess with. I have Talisman and play it a lot with my son, but my copy of Shadows of Malice doesn't see much action.

I think the genre that has really been hit hard is any kind of game that tries to recreate the tactical experience of D&D in any meaningful way. As in, characters on a grid proceeding through set scenarios, advancing in some way between those scenarios. Stuff like Descent, Imperial Assualt, most of the CMON output, those things are an absolute waste of money for me. They don't even have the benefit of being easier to get played than an RPG, because they never are. Even Silver Tower, which I own and love, feels overly constrained compared to D&D these days.

This is a bit separate from two-player tactical stuff like Space Hulk and Earth Reborn. Those are really kind of another genre.
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30 May 2019 22:40 #297821 by Shellhead

san il defanso wrote: We've had this conversation on Twitter, but regular D&D play has killed my interest in dungeon crawl and adventure games. Only really stripped down, loose stuff like Dungeonquest and Talisman interest me now. Anything more complex than that is up against D&D, and it frankly doesn't stand a chance in that fight.


From 2012 to 2016, I ran a D&D 3.5 campaign in the Ptolus setting. It was a fantastic experience, but the prospect of ever running a long 3.5 campaign again is daunting. I spend a lot of time prepping maps, tokens, encounters, handouts, etc. Dungeon crawl boardgames are sometimes a fine alternative due to the absence of scheduling hassles or prep time. Depending on the game, you might not even need a dungeon master.

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30 May 2019 23:18 #297823 by san il defanso
That makes sense. I know that the overhead on 5e is much lighter, and allows for planning to be more conceptual and less precise. That might have something to do with my opinions on the matter.

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31 May 2019 05:03 #297830 by Matt Thrower
Lovely stuff. Whenever I ask my kids what they're favourite of all my games is, they answer D&D. I feel a bit bad I don't play with them often, but I just can't find the time commitment.
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31 May 2019 05:23 #297831 by san il defanso
I play with my son as well, and he loves it. We have joined with another family (the dad plays with my group) and we've has an opportunity to play a couple sessions together. Really fun stuff.

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31 May 2019 08:08 #297833 by Michael Barnes
Y’all are getting a little ahead of next week’s post, but to preface that, after being “born again” I’m not sure I have time for the bigger, more in-depth dungeoncrawl board games. Including Gloomhaven. I can get a one-shot game of D&D going in the time it takes to set up and take down Gloomhaven. Although I love that game, had a great time with that game, and really dig the mechanics...like Nate said D&D is going to win every time over it.

There’s always been this “why not just D&D” argument against RPG-style board games, and now I kind of get it. Especially in light of 5E- it’s an -amazing- piece of design, like what GW did with Warhammer, they cut out a lot of bloat and got right down to the important stuff.

Anyway, more on this next week!
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31 May 2019 08:45 - 31 May 2019 08:53 #297837 by san il defanso
One of the great things about 5e is how well it allows you to play the kind of game you want to play. It lets you beef up the tactics if you want, but then it lets you slide easily between tactical combat and narrative hand-waving without much fuss. You can do that with combat too, shifting between grid-based and theater-of-the-mind without really any inconvenience at all. It's a very versatile system.

It does have its flaws. The rest system is kind of janky, charisma is underused if you aren't a sorcerer, and the ranger class as written requires a lot of coordination with the DM to make it very useful. I don't think any of those are deal-breakers though, and the community out there has thought of all kinds of ways of adjust this stuff. It helps that WotC has done very little adding of new material over the last five years. Besides the core books, there's just Xanathar's Guide to Everything with new spells, and Volo's Guide to Monsters with new classes. I know some people would like a second DMs Guide like we got with 4e, or another Player Handbook, but I think we are at a good place now. No sense in tossing in those splatbooks just because.

*edit* Agreed on Phandelver as well. It's a great adventure. Definitely gives a nice overview of all the different kinds of stuff the system can do, and serves as a great introduction either with the prefab characters or with new ones.
Last edit: 31 May 2019 08:53 by san il defanso.

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31 May 2019 09:06 #297839 by hotseatgames
So are you using a grid map and minis at all?

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31 May 2019 09:28 #297842 by Michael Barnes
Yes, we’ve done every combat so far on the grid. I’m using the WOTC “official” dry erase board. It’s like a board game board so it folds up. It’s a little small, but so far it’s worked perfectly. Using minis from the D&DAS games, a few Nolzur’s, and others in my collection. I actually bought them the prepainted kid Druid figures from the Pathfinder Wardlings line.

My daughter is always griefing me about my bad drawing.
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31 May 2019 09:54 #297851 by Gary Sax
I often wonder about WotC's conservative approach to 5th. It's very good for the game, but I can't help but wonder about the business of that strategy... which I hope works.

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31 May 2019 11:10 #297854 by RolandHemisphere
Great write up. I ran some of the Lost Mines with three grown men who didn't play with half the skill and verve as your kids displayed.

Looking forward to Future installments.
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