Feb 26, 2020

5th Edition Character Creation Needs Reorganization

Thanks to Stranger Things my daughters want to play D&D. We've tried out classic with B2 Keep on the Borderlands, which went ok.

Then they got the Stranger Things box set which uses 5th edition. I could write a whole review on that product. It's a pretty good introduction to 5th edition, but NOT a good Stranger Things game. Overall disappointing.

So that got us into 5th edition. We've tried a few times to make characters and each time it is a grueling and labor intensive process. The organization and steps are just not smooth at all. Especially confusing to young players. I took to finding some good simplified step-by-step summaries online and found a few, including some pretty good character sheets, but none of them really satisfy the need to quickly and clearly create characters. I mean really you should be able to generate a character in 15 minutes. Instead it seems to take an entire gaming session.

This is one of the better ones I've found: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/245446/Kid-Friendly-Character-Sheet

I'm thinking of writing up my own character creation quick start pamphlet. I'm finding things I like about 5th edition, some of the mechanics like advantage/disadvantage dice, inspiration, proficiency, and saving throws work pretty well. But character creation isn't one of them.

Feb 7, 2020

Dungeoneer Deluxe: Upgrading and Updating Dungeoneer

Dungeoneer is over 15 years old, and almost from the time it was published I was already redesigning it. The game was quite well received but always fell into that "cult hit" category. It sold well enough to stay in print, but never quite gangbuster numbers. I always felt it was a pretty strong game with unfortunate production short comings.

The game should have come with dice and tokens. It is really silly that it didn't. I was a naive young designer and was just happy it was published. It deserved so much more. Still, it is a lot of fun to play and any gamer has dice and tokens around they could use to play the game when they got a deck.

There was another thing, the rulebook was never fantastic. It was overly written and hard to understand. They say a designer shouldn't write their own rulebook and that's true! I got a lot of help from Atlas Games who did the best they could with what I gave them. Part of the problem though wasn't the rulebook, it was that there was genuine kludgy-ness to the game. Unnecessary complications, that had a purpose when the game was designed but really could and should have been streamlined.

Dungeoneer Deluxe.
This is my redesign of Dungeoneer from the ground up. Yet, somehow it is exactly the same game with all the kludgyness gone. It is streamlined, fun, competitive, finely balanced and more tactical. The game I was trying to design in the first place. Also, it has all the components needed in the box! I even designed some special dice that makes combat lightning fast and easy to play even for younger gamers.

Also, my art skills have improved (I think) and I've made some great new art for it!

I'm posting this now because I have a prototype that I'm bringing to Protospiels around local game conventions and events. If you are in the San Francisco bay area and go to Dundracon or Kublacon you can check it out, play it, and tell me what you think.