Anniversary Homebrew: Wife Edition

Greetings All,

If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that my husband and I made our own little versions of games we love for our anniversary. And if you’re just now tuning in… you might want to check out the other anniversary posts. Anyhow, between being ridiculously busy and sleep deprived I’ve been dragging my feet on this post. Also small disclosure here, the picture I’m adding is not an original. My husband cropped it together, but it is not his art.

I didn’t like my end product. Even though I will admit that I am adorable and my little Above and Below parody game followed suit, it just felt extremely lacking. I’m not a great storyteller (No clue why I have a blog) and I knew I wanted to include playable scenarios for every year of our relationship, but doing that made it where I could not actually use my stories in the game Above and Below. My characters can totally be played in the actual game though.

On to my husband’s game. He was going to make three chapters for Mice and Mystics centered around my favorite character Filch. He was only able to finish one because he had been working so many extra hours at work. Luckily he assures me I’ll get to play the other two for Christmas. I really enjoyed playing the first chapter. Filch is wonderful and I’ve always been upset by how little love he gets in the game. My husband was able to capture the right attitude and speech patterns for Filch and it made the story sing. I couldn’t stop smiling. He is so good at storytelling and has charisma for days, his theatrics made the experience that much better. My husband was a bit upset because his game wasn’t anniversary themed, but I loved it. I suppose he could have made a cute love story between the characters or something, but instead he chose to write a story for a character that I demand to play with every time we play. It means more to me that he is writing these chapters for me to go on an adventure with my favorite character than it would have to just make a random love encounter between characters that I have no interest in. It appears that Mice and Mystics is over with Plaid Hat and that saddens me, but because of my husband I still get to enjoy a new story and that’s absolutely wonderful. It makes me think of all of those television series that were abruptly cancelled and I never got closure, I’d kill for some new content for them. At least I get two more chapters this month! 🙂

So now that I’ve rambled and have made everyone bored… I promise I’ll get caught up with my overdue content. I have several game reviews half written and several interviews in progress. Thanks for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.

                                                           -livingbytheboard

Anniversary Homebrew: Husband Edition

Hello,
This was such a wildly personal topic, that I didn’t know how to approach it.  It’s as though the blog readers would be flies on the wall for a private moment in my life that I wanted to keep all my own.  But, after some thought on the matter (and insistence from my wife,) I decided to go ahead and write review of my wife’s anniversary game.
Let’s address the elephant in the room now, her game was vastly more “anniversary themed” than mine.  In fact, my first words upon seeing the bit of the game were: “…Were we supposed to follow a theme? Was I not paying attention again???”  Well, evidentially, I was paying attention…I just even fathom the pantheon of cuteness that wife operates at.  It was as though the entirety of her project was tailor-made to elicit “d’awww” sounds at virtually every impasse.  With every turn of the page, I felt as though I was CHRONICALLY UNDERPREPARED.  But enough of my (deserved) self-criticism, let’s talk about her game.
The game itself was like a separate, mini module for the (excellent) game: Above and Below.  Although, the entirety of the gameplay fixated on one mechanism in that game, the exploration.  During the exploration phase of Above and Below, you’d assign two or more characters to go below ground and “explore” for treasure.  Upon selecting these characters, you choose a card from a deck with six, seemingly random numbers on said card (with each number having a corresponding number from a die face on it.)  At which point, you roll your die, and that selects a scenario from the Scenario Book that comes with Above and Below.  These scenarios consist of anything from: “An old man is sleeping, what do you do to him?” To: “You stumble upon a pack of ravenous under dwellers, how do you proceed?”  And you usually have at least two or three options on how to proceed, that require higher dice rolls to accomplish more daring (or dastardly) feats.  It’s a really fun mechanism.
The moment she presented the game to me, I could tell that I was gonna cry like a baby.  The game presented scenarios that actually occurred in our real lives, segmented into the last six (often tumultuous) years of our relationship.  Let’s be totally frank about two things right off the bat:
1 – This was less a game, than a storytelling mechanic.  It was LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to lose.
2 – These scenarios were designed to tear my soul asunder, leave my anima nothing but cinders, and leave me in a blathering, bawling state…she succeeded.  …that she-beast.
Characters in Above and Below are usually obtained by procuring them from an open pool where you can (more or less) purchase them.  In my wife’s version, they were obtained automatically, just as they came into our lives.  And were often introduced with great fanfare, and in a beautiful (if albeit romanticized) way that made all of the scenarios feel cohesive.  The one revolving around an old pet of ours was particularly wonderful…and heart rending.
I’m gonna be honest, readers…I am not comfortable discussing this at any more length.  This was special…and it means a lot to me.  But, I’m simply not comfortable sharing anymore of it with you if for no other reason than this: You couldn’t feel it the way I do.  No amount of felicitous vernacular, or intensive description, or several thousand characters of text could properly convey how this made me feel.  And that would rob you of much of this experience.  Imagine the first time you saw a movie that really resonated with you, now imagine showing it to someone who doesn’t particularly care for it.  How would you react?  Would the intensity of the love you had for the movie effect how that other person’s indifference (or possible disdain) affected you?  I’d hazard to say it would.  So…I’m gonna keep the finer points locked up in the porous colander that my brain, and the steel trap that is my heart.
Sorry for a particularly meandering post, readers.  I appreciate anyone who had the fortitude to stick it out and finish…lord knows I barely did.  Either way, thanks for reading, and (ideally) I’ll be back soon with some indie gaming reviews.
Thank you for reading and please keep an eye out for my Anniversary homebrew: wife edition.
-The Husband

Anniversary Prep – Wife Edition, Vol 2!

Greetings All, 
This is going to be short and sweet because I am sleepy. As some of you may remember, my husband and I have a big anniversary coming up. Five years! We decided to utilize games that we both love to create anniversary gifts for each other. My husband is doing homemade Mice and Mystics campaigns and I am doing homemade characters, rules, and an adventure book based on Above and Below. 
So far I have written my rules, adventure book, and designed my characters. I still have to design my rulebook and adventure book. I have my backgrounds picked out and my laminating paper ordered. I just have to get the umph to finish. 
So there ya go, short and sweet. I’m going to go pass out now. Good night everyone. Thanks for reading and until next time… Live by the board. 
-livingbytheboard 

Industry Interviews – Ryan Laukat, Red Raven Games.

Greetings All,
Sorry about the long wait between posts. I have been working on my anniversary gift for my husband and therefore have been a bit preoccupied, however, I have been doing some sharing and interacting on my Facebook and Twitter so if you’re hankering for some Living by the Board love please give us a follow! 🙂
Today I get to bring you a lovely little interview from Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games. My favorite Red Raven game is Above and Below. Oddly enough my anniversary gift for my husband is a mini adventure of our time together in the format of Above and Below including new adventures and character cards. If you want to hear more about my gift and my husbands Mice & Mystics gift, please stay tuned! Until then, enjoy the interview folks!
red raven.png
1) When you were younger you did some commercials as a boy Soprano, correct? Can you provide me with a link to see one by chance?
(I have a solo at about 19 seconds)
2)I understand that you currently have a second job at Cannonball Musical Instruments. My daughters were super excited to learn about that because they play flute and saxophone. Outside of this, what job(s) did you have before your gaming career?
Because Cannonball is a family business my parents started when I was young, that was my first job, and I’ve worked there since I was sixteen. Before I started Red Raven, though, I did freelance illustration in the board game industry for companies like Rio Grande and Z-Man Games.
3)I’ve read that you and your wife both participated in Missions. You lived in the Dominican Republic for a spell, how did you enjoy that?
I have a special place in my heart for the Dominican Republic. I loved the time that I lived there. Coincidentally, my love for euro games came from my time there. I had a copy of Puerto Rico which I played many times there.
4)What was the first game you ever designed?
I was twelve years old. It was a card game inspired by trading card games. I painted cards with monsters and creatures that would battle each other with different abilities.
5)You created Red Raven Games in 2011. What was the inspiration for the company name?
I had written a short story with a red raven in it and decided to use that for the company name.
6)What was the first title published under Red Raven Games?
Empires of the Void. It’s a space exploration game and we only made one print run. Now, years later, we are publishing its sequel: Empires of the Void II
7)What is your favorite Red Raven game and Favorite non-Red Raven game?
My favorite Red Raven game is City of Iron. My favorite non-Red Raven game is Agricola. But I also really like games that are immersive of that tell an intriguing story.
 
8)Given market trends and the performance of Red Raven Games catalogue, what do you believe the future holds for the company, such as expanding the company and it’s game library?
There will probably be lots of new story games throughout the years. 
9)Obviously your wife is heavily involved in the company and therefore gaming. Do your children enjoy tabletop gaming as well?
Our kids love board games. Every time we sit down to play, they want to come and join. They help us play test and they’ve even started designing their own games.
10)Do you have any advice for someone aspiring to be involved in the gaming industry?
The most important thing about getting involved in the gaming industry is doing it because you love it. Also, get involved in-game groups, design groups, trade shows, demos–anything you can. It’s important to meet people and make connections, not just to get started, but because this industry is very interactive and friendly. Everyone is there to help you and give you useful input.
I want to thank Ryan and his wife Malorie, as well as Red Raven Games for this interview. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you everyone for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.
-Livingbytheboard

Anniversary Prep – Wife edition

Greetings All,

As some of you may know, my husband and I have a big anniversary coming up this year. Five years married! We are not in the best of financial positions right now so our plans have been cut short. We decided to both work on a game that we can modify and add our own twists and stories to. Of course in the end it was easier to pick story based games. My husband chose Mice & Mystics and I chose Above and Below.

I am several weeks behind my husbands post, but I have been wracking my brain on how to possibly compare to his lovely explanation of his Mice & Mystics prep. Solution: I can’t. I’m not nearly as good at hiding my plans for my “expansion”. In fact, my notes have been sitting open on my night stand for weeks and my husband has been a good sport and not looked… I think.

So let’s do this as vague as possible. I am going to include a video and rules for Above and Below so that those of you that haven’t played yet can get a basic understanding of the game.

In the beginning of my prep I was having a really hard time trying to fit my stories into the actual game. Obviously I couldn’t explore the scenarios that I have written because I’ll know what is best to roll and what my outcomes will be. I want my husband to go through all of the scenarios I have written and in one play through at that, however, I do not want him to suffer during game play because I have all options and he is forced to explore every turn. So I decided that instead of fitting them into the actual game that it my scenarios would be an homage to Above and Below, but played separate if the actual game.

After prepping in that style for a month straight, I changed my darn mind again. I have now decided that at the start of the game we will start with one extra bed and one extra character. We will both explore each turn – He will explore my scenarios and I will explore the standard Above and Below scenarios. I am adding an extra bed and character for each of us so that we can still complete other tasks that we would normally skip exploration for.

Here’s a brief spoiler free preview of how I’m doing my scenarios. We have been together for six years, therefore I am doing six scenarios… something real that occurred each year we were together. There will be three outcomes for each – two positive outcomes based on the number(s) rolled and one negative outcome should he fail to roll enough to succeed. There will be characters he can acquire from successful roles and the characters themselves will have new abilities that can be utilized during gameplay.

That said, there are some things I haven’t worked out yet. For example during some explorations you’ll get 3 coins and a rope for successfully rolling. Well, I’m over here trying to figure out how the hell 3 coins and a rope fit into rolling during a vacation scenario. (There is not vacation scenario, but I wasn’t going to use a real one on here.) I’ve figured out how I’m doing reputation, but those freaking items are the bane of creative existence right now. I’m also creating actual character cards to print out and laminate.

So yeah there is my not nearly entertaining enough look at where I’m at in my anniversary prep. Stay tuned to hear more from my husband and I as our anniversary approaches. Thank you for reading and until next time… Live by the board.

-livingbytheboard