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 

Anniversary Prep – Husband edition vol 2!

Good evening loyal readers!  …I WILDLY regret announcing my project!  In the interest of transparency, let me explain.  I’m not going to say I underestimated the scope of the project at hand, however…I did not anticipate the amount of busy work this would entail.

For instance, I am not an artist.  It never even registered to me that I’d need to confer with any sort of application that would require I create a scene or image freehand.  The end product of my first MS Paint images looked like the initial phase of rehab for a traumatic brain injury.  Not pretty to say the least.  It was very surprising just how much time was lost to this endeavor, to the pursuit of making images that didn’t look like finger paint therapy for the criminally insane.
The second major issue came in the form of a problem I’d not dealt with for quite some time…being properly articulate and elaborate.  I finished the story draft for the first two chapters fairly quickly, maybe a few hours tops. Upon proofing them for application into an articulated story…it read like the script to a 2003 movie vehicle starring Shia LaBouf…it had “Holes,” dude!  (For all 3 of you out there who caught that reference, thank you for judging me only passively.)  Either way, revisions galore on my end.
And, the real obstacle in all of this, an overabundance of overtime at work.  There was about a month and a half period where I was working LITERALLY HALF of the time.  For clarity, that’s 12 hours a day, every day, for many consecutive weeks.  Without being overly verbose about it, it was conducive to the creative process.  Luckily, this appears to be ending soon…or at least slowing down.
Thank you all for suffering my list of excuses and (hopefully) not judging me for God awful references.  Hopefully the next update comes with proper progress, or maybe even SOMETHING being totally completed.
Until next time, insert a cliche sign off catchphrase here.

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

Anniversary Prep – Husband edition!

Hi, loyal readers!

The wife and I have a lovely milestone looming on the horizon, our 5th year wedding anniversary!  So, in lieu of hyper frugality *cough-ostensible-poverty-cough* we decided to make our own mini expansions for some of the games we really love.  Since this is something of a new horizon for both of us (her), we also decided to pick games that emphasized narrative elements in their overall gameplay.  With this criteria, I INSTANTLY chose one of my (our) all-time favorites: Mice and Mystics.  This decision was all the easier to make when you bear in mind that my Wife LOOO-OOOVES one of the central characters of the games.  Now, Mice and Mystics is a game that is very heavy on magic and medieval theme, and using a fixed narrative as a the central mechanic of the whole game.  This made my job CAKE.  Now, you may be asking yourself: “Why in the blue hell is this guy spilling all of the beans about an anniversary gift that’ll be displayed for just anyone to read on the internet?” …shutup you digitally disembodied jerkface, we thought of this little caveat.  These posts will serve more as status updates coupled with non-spoilery details.  With all of this in mind, let’s jump right in to my first update.

Conception
I instantly wanted make a story deliberately for my Wife, something that would stay were her a little longer than a more superficial story.  So, I chose to fixate on her favorite character: Filch, the thief.  She absolutely LOVES him!  In fact, lemme give you a little perspective.  Mice and Mystics is published by Plaid Hat Games, and they have a decent online store that hosts several download only chapters of the game.  Incidentally, they also had several plushies available on their website for sale…but they only had two characters, neither of which were Filch.  She weepily laments (loudly, and often during gameplay) his absence to this day.  (Just want to take a moment to see if Plaid Hat Games could find it in their hearts to donate a Colin plush to this blog…I’d be ETERNALLY grateful…begging complete.)  Needless to say, I thought that manipulating her affinity for this character would be easy enough.
I’m presently at the phase of ferreting out the finer details of a scribble bomb that contains all of the broad strokes, and touch points.  I’m content with what I have so far, but I fear that making it “game compatible” will prove difficult.  The “when” and “where.”  “When can I shoehorn this in?”  “If I put this plot point at this particular area, will it make sense?”  What’s more, I wanted to present this story in 3 separate chapters (playthroughs.)  So, I’m wracked with this paralytic indecision on how to space everything out.  Above all, I wanna tell a halfway decent story, but I also want the gameplay to fun. *sigh* I have WAAAY more respect for Jerry Hawthorne after this (hopefully averted) debacle.
Tune in next time to see if I can pull my head out of my bum and actually get the plot done and get on to the meat and potatoes of this process, applied game mechanics…or tune in for my neurotic mental anguish to be on full display…your call, I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to spend your time online.
-The Husband
Thanks for checking this out everyone! Tune in next time for my anniversary plans! And until next time… Live by the board. – The Wife
-Living by the board

My Geektastic Anniversary

Greetings All,

Today is my two-year wedding anniversary and it featured many geeky things. I got my husband a deck of personalized cards, as mentioned in the last blog post. It was a standard deck of 52 that had pictures of us, our three kids, and our ferret. I also got him a personalized Chrono Trigger clock and a canvas printed Iron Man comic cover. I even made him a Pokemon card with references to Guardians of the Galaxy and Bob’s Burgers.

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All I wanted to do was play Ticket to Ride with the 1910 expansion while listening to the Awesome Mix from Guardians of the Galaxy. We played on Sunday because we feared we wouldn’t have enough time to do so today, but to my very happy surprise we were able to play today as well and my kids joined us! Yesterday I ran out to the store and when I came back my husband was sitting at the table with Ticket to Ride and the music ready to play. There is nothing better than forgetting it’s your turn because you are busy singing or busy staring at your spouse because they’re singing.

My point is that board games have brought my family together and has given us so much joy that it feels wrong to not celebrate special days without playing a board game or two. There have been times when I’ve literally set the table with candles and laid out a board game with dinner. It may sound cheesy, but that game brings us very close. I love thrill of competing with my spouse and the comfort of knowing that no matter who wins, there’s going to be a rematch.

If you want something to do that is a constant reminder that you married your best friend… board games are the way to go, I just happen to be partial to Ticket to Ride.

Here are links to the previously mentioned items. I hope you enjoy.

Personalized Playing Cards: https://www.shutterfly.com/sitesearch/playing%20cards

Personalized Clocks: https://www.etsy.com/shop/zuzusforall?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Personalized Pokemon Cards: http://pokemoncardapp.com/

Ticket to Ride: http://www.miniaturemarket.com/ssearch?q=Ticket+to+Ride

Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix: http://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Galaxy-Awesome-Mix-Vol-1/dp/B00KLF5J64

Thank you for looking! Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard