A Rambling Post About Dungeons & Dragons Part 1

Brandon: Greetings, Player Characters and Dungeon Masters! If you are looking for a coherent post on the merits and mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) please look elsewhere. If, however, you are interested in my meandering musings on my personal history, or lack thereof, with D&D then please sit down and stay awhile.

Let’s just jump in, shall we?

I have two early memories of D&D. The first is the Dungeons & Dragons television program. The show aired from 1983 to 1985 according to sources on the interwebs. I don’t remember that. I don’t even remember that I was the age that I was. For the record, I was youngish. What I do remember is how it made me feel. To be clear, it made me feel amazing. I loved the concept: children thrown into another world and handed magical items and told it was up to them to save that world. I loved the character classes: Acrobat, Ranger, Cavalier, Magician, Thief, Barbarian. And who could forget Dungeon Master and Uni the baby unicorn. Venger was an impressive looking villain and then there was Tiamat. Multi-headed dragon!!

Magical!

I wanted to be the Ranger so bad. He had a super cool faux medieval outfit and an energy bow. No bow string. Just the bow and when you wanted you pulled back and an energy bowstring magically appeared and shot glowing energy arrows!

I could go on about my analysis of that show that I have done as an adult; the interpersonal issues of the group, the villains(Venger!), the way the group interacted with different groups of people, and that the show started dealing with some heavy stuff towards the end. All this in just 13 episodes. But, I want to stick to my memory as a child, and as a child I just thought this show was rad.

My second early memory is of buying a Warduke toy at Toys ‘R Us right around this time. The skull shield was incredible! I was staying with my dad for the Summer and my step brother at the time made a comment that was basically, “Wow, you’re into that devil stuff. You’re weird.” Now, to explain, I wasn’t “into D&D”. I like the show. I liked this toy. That was about it. I wish I still had that toy. But, Derek’s comment(his name was Derek) does lead us into my next interaction with D&D, which was nothing. Nothing. I liked the show. I liked my toy. I had some interest in playing and I have a vague memory of making what I thought was a character sheet, but then nothing.

Let me magically transport us all to my time in high school. Not the happiest time in my life. Not the worst, but a close second. I was not suddenly immersed in the world of D&D with similarly outcast friends. I was playing guitar in the jazz band at school and also playing in a heavy metal/progressive metal band in my spare time. Somewhere in there I saw the movie Mazes & Monsters.

The movie had actually come out before the D&D tv show, but I didn’t see it until, well, high school. I highly recommend seeing this movie. You must understand that it is based on a book that is largely hokum and that it came out at a time when there was a large D&D backlash based solely on fear of the unknown. “Oh no! People and children are playing a game where they pretend to be wizards. Witchcraft! Will no one save the children!” If I remember correctly this was also around the time of heavy metal deprogramming camps. Yes, those existed. People had their children abducted and sent to camps to get them to stop listening to that devil music.

I am getting off track. Remember though, I told you this would be meandering. Back to my point…the current point…?

There is a type of person who watches Scarface and says to them-self “That’s the life for me!” Without spoiling too much, the story does not go well for the main character in the end. It’s a cautionary tale of sorts. Mazes & Monsters is meant to be a cautionary tale as well. It did not make me afraid of Dungeons & Dragons at all. It made me want to play it. And so, I didn’t. Seriously. I still didn’t get into D&D. I kept playing guitar. I read books. I built a book case.

The aforementioned bookcase rescued from my mother’s garage and being cleaned up and restored.

Then in 1994 I was introduced to Magic The Gathering(MTG). This was a revelation. This was a whole world in a tiny little box. Those first boxes spoke to me. They were made to look like small spell books. There was lore and all of these familiar and unfamiliar monsters and creatures and people. Tarehna and I wound up playing a lot of MTG and had a suitcase full of cards. Then we stopped playing and we donated that suitcase full of cards. And still, I had never played D&D.

Oh my. Would you look at that? Look. Look up above. Do you see how much you have read so far. I haven’t actually even shared anything significant yet, but here you are at the end of it. Well, at the end of Part 1 at least. I didn’t know this was going to happen. Looks like there will be a Part 2. Thank you so much for reading my ramblings on not playing D&D. If you join us for Part 2 I guarantee that you will be able to read about how I finally got into play Dungeons & Dragons when I was no longer youngish, but, in fact, was oldish.

Stay tuned…

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Dragonstrike Instruction Video (High Definition?)

A must watch for everyone!

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Good News Bad News

First, the bad news. Spaghetti and Meeples has been honored and privileged to be a part of Pathological Nerdcasters Network. Unfortunately its time has come to an end. You should still follow that link and be sure to check out all of the content and follow all of the contributors. Those of us who were a part of PNCN still have our own private section of the internet and will keep in touch. So, do not worry on that account.

The good news? We are now incredibly surprised, amazed, and also honored to be a part of Punchboard Media. And not to worry. Many of your favorite PNCN contributors will be at Punchboard Media as well.

This is such an exciting community to belong to with many creative individuals and teams bringing you the best in geek and tabletop culture.

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Gamestorm 19 Spectacular Spectacular

We were finally able to weed through the mountains and mountains of footage from Gamestorm 19 to bring you this tight 8 min video!!
Edit: Had to reupload as there were mobile audio issues on original uplaod.

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LARP Insurance

Questing is treacherous business, and no one knows more acutely than the heroes and villains taking part in fantasy live action role playing (LARP) events. Luckily for their fictional personas, there are healing spells and potions in case of injury. But should their real-world selves get hurt during the game, these miracle salves have no effect. Fortunately, the real world has LARP insurance.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/wizards-warriors-and-the-quest-for-larp-insurance

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Spaghetti & Meeples Looks at Math Fluxx and Mad Libs

It’s a Looney Labs twofer!

 

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Vers: The Rap Game

Brandon: Recently Tarehna had her students study Athens and then rap about it. Not long after she ran into Vers: The Rap Game on Kickstarter. This looks like a fun game that will push me out of my comfort zone. I am not one to rap in front of people, or alone for that matter. That fear, however, has not stopped me from backing Vers. I am really excited about this game. It also has beautiful art. Take a look and see if it’s not something you might be interested in.

Founded by Jerry Spatch, a Boston Freestyle Rapper and a current entrepreneurship student at Northeastern University. Spatch Games is a winner of Northeastern’s Husky Start-up Challenge and was featured in Bostinno magazine as an up-and-coming start-up. Vers: The Rap Game is a product of Spatch Games.

Vers was created to break down what you know about rapping and make it for people everywhere.

“I was tired of people in university saying I shouldn’t rap because it was unprofessional. Everywhere I went, when people heard about rap they’d think of a bunch of things that it wasn’t. So I made the game and it’s fun and silly and everyone can play it.”

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Thursday Thoughts: Eric Lang Tweet

Brandon: It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Thursday Thoughts segment. They were started back when we were Board Game Jungle. Recently a tweet from Eric Lang was shared in one of the board game groups I follow and I was completely perplexed by some of the reactions. I discuss the reactions and my thoughts in the video below…

Follow Eric Lang @eric_lang

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Spaghetti & Meeples Looks at Batallas Históricas Verdún 1916

Today we finally take a closer look at Batallas Históricas Verdún 1916 from Runica Art Games. It’s a light 2 player game about trench war fare. Closed captions in Spanish. Subtítulos cerrados en Español,


Previously:

https://www.facebook.com/RunicaArtGames/
http://runicaartgames.wixsite.com/rags/juegos
http://www.spaghettiandmeeples.com/2016/08/23/unboxing-runica-art-games-package/
http://www.spaghettiandmeeples.com/2016/06/15/runica-games-historical-battles-verdun-1916/

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Michael Stockin

Hello! Today we are joined by Michael Stockin of Angel Barracks and The Wargames Website. Get your paints out, have a seat and enjoy!


How did you first get into gaming?

Hmmm my dad had a large model railway in the loft and I would push 1/72nd WWII tanks around on it. One day I went with him to Beatties (model shop) and just a few doors down I noticed some place called Games Workshop. Back then it was a small chain of true independent games shops.
I bought some Imperial Dwarves and Barbarians and took them home and started work painting them with my Humbrol enamels.

Not long after that I bought Citadel acrylics and Warhammer Fantasy Battle, 2nd edition I think it was.
And that was that!

How much of your time is spent playing board games vs. miniatures or RPGS?

These days it is 80% video games, 15% CCGs and the rest wargames/board games.
I have not done any roleplaying in about 25 years or more.

When did you decide to start making miniatures and why?

It was after 6 years of Angel Barracks being just historical and I started to get a bit bored and eventually settled on trying 6mm sci-fi skirmish as a new thing.
Skirmish games are quite different in that things like small details are important.
I was looking for alien wildlife for my games but could not find any…
So I reached out and got some alien creatures sculpted and cast up.
They were well received, possibly as I was the first to do them?
Then I realized I needed sci-fi civilians, again I could not find any so again got some made and cast, again well received.
So I decided to stop selling other people’s 6mm sci-fi and concentrate on making my own.
It started off, and continues today as me making things that are mostly not out there already, and things I think are cool.

What do you mean Angel Barracks was more historical?

It started off as noted, with £300.00 of investment, this was £150.00 of dice and paints and £150.00 of 6mm Napoleonic’s stock.
From here it expanded to over 2500 products, the miniatures side  of which was probably about 90% Napoleonic figures and buildings, with the rest being WWII.

How did you start Angel Barracks?

In my 20’s I drifted out of gaming and into girls and booze and work and stuff.
When I got together with Samantha, and after we had been together long enough for me to talk about my nerdy gaming roots she totally got it, as she was a nerd too.
She grew up around her older brother who was a big gamer.

I said I may get back into gaming.
So, I looked around for a single point of contact where I could buy everything I needed to get started and I found nowhere.
I wanted, 6mm figures, 6mm buildings, 6mm terrain, paints, dice, rules, brushes, etc.
So with her encouragement and £300.00 I set up Angel Barracks.

What about the Wargames Website?

As you know, I used to be an advertiser on TMP.
I eventually tired of the site for numerous reasons and thought there must be a better way to do it.
So I set up TWW, its aim to offer a pleasant gaming site with fair and consistent moderation and respect for all.
I also wanted to make sure that those that advertised on TWW, were treated with respect and some degree of professionalism.
That is not to say it is all about business lunches and sir and madam, but having been on the receiving end of poor customer service I wanted to make sure I offered a caring efficient service on a modern platform.

You’ve primarily been doing Sci-Fi miniatures, but recently not only are breaking into fantasy, but also are going from 6mm to 15mm. What prompted that?

Crom!
Not sure, I had a hankering for some fantasy games, it was where I started wargaming, and roleplaying for that matter.
I did consider doing it in 6mm, but I think there is an element of because I do 6mm for my ‘job’ that doing it for fun seems less likely.
So 6mm fantasy was out, and I just thought, why not play some 15mm.
Then I thought, well I am going to need some terrain and buuldings and what not, so rather than just make some for myself, why not cast them up and sell them too?

When will your fantasy miniatures be available to purchase?
Hopefully the first few buildings will be ready in February at http://cromsanvil.co.uk/

What have been the biggest challenges in running your own business?

Making enough money to pay the rent.
Having to stop working during the school holidays or when Charlotte is off school.
Trying to keep everything compliant with the law.
Trying to convince people to try The Wargames Website, the number one reason people give me for not using it is that it is not as busy as say TMP.
For various reasons this bothers me.
Should I expand?

What have been the biggest rewards?

Money, that is why I do it.
Then it is seeing people take my stuff and run with it, I have seen some very cool settings with my 6mm sci-fi.
It is nice to see your creations be as exciting to others as they are to you.

What do your miniatures offer that other don’t?

I think they have a lot of detail for their size, the buildings especially.
I also offer a lot of stuff that other people don’t, a different conceptual style so to speak.
I would guess the majority of 6mm sci-fi buildings are desert or Gothic terrain, mine are not.
Plus as my games are skirmished based, each building has its own story about who lives there and what it does.

What rules set do you use for your miniatures?

For my 6mm sci-fi I use my own rules, KR 16.
For the 15mm fantasy I will be using Crom.

Where can people find your rules? 

Here sir, did I mention they are free? http://angelbarracks.co.uk/rules.html

What is the gaming scene like where you are?

Very vibrant, but I don’t get out much so have no first-hand experience of it, I am just aware of numerous clubs and so forth.

Does your family play?

My daughter plays the odd boardgame and the Pokemon CCG.
My wife works a lot and is often away from home so she gets to play less than I do.
However, the fantasy thing is an attempt to rectify that.

If you were a candy bar, what kind of candy bar would you be?

errrrr Double Decker?


Find Michael, his miniatures, and his opinions at these fine locations:

http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/

http://angelbarracks.co.uk/

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