Friendly local game stores and their owners are to few and far between. I think when a game store has to close down, for whatever reason, it affects us all in the gaming community. It does not matter how faraway you are or how close you are to a game store. If one closes its doors we are all adversely affected one way or another.
Most of you will have no idea who Dave Estes is. Truth is, I didn’t know him all that well myself, but the man had a positive impact on my life. Because of that, I think he is worth being remembered for all that he did for the hobby and the community.
Juneau, Alaska does not have much in the way of gaming or comic book stores. If you have ever been to Juneau its pretty easy to see that just by having a hobby store like the one Dave ran in this part of the country is a hard thing to keep afloat. Throughout the years that he owned his store, Collector’s Hideaway he did his very best to cater to the changing needs of the community.
Dave loved gaming and he showed it by the way he ran his store. He held Magic The Gathering tournaments almost weekly. He would teach kids new to the game how to play or pare them up with someone he though could help them learn the game better. He also dabbled in table top role playing games. Even through he never sold a lot of gaming books or minis he still manage to do the special orders that a couple of us in town asked for. He would often e-mail me with specials he heard about regarding role playing games or I would e-mail him about some special run of minis Wizards of the Coast was doing and he would go out of his way to try and get them for me.
Back in March of 2010 I wrote a story for Stargazer’s World titled, Gaming In Remote Locations: Juneau Alaska. In that story I talked about my own personal experiences with gaming in an isolated placed like Juneau. I also used that story as an opportunity to interview Dave Estes about his locally owned store. We spent most of the time talking about the most popular game in Juneau at the time, and I think still is, Magic The Gathering. As we chatted he would stop to help out a young kid who walked in with his mother who wanted Pokémon cards but had questions as to which pack he should buy. He even offered to help the boy get in contact with other Pokémon players in town.
The gaming community has lost a good friend in Dave Estes. He will be missed and remembered upon fondly. As the latest chapter closes on this small town we sit and wait with our dice and cards in hand for the next one to begin.
May you forever roll twenties, Dave.
I have been on an epic quest these last few months tirelessly searching for what could be considered the very best table top pen and paper role playing game out there. My fingers surfed the keyboard of my MacBook Pro all over the Internets asking search engines the question, “What is the very best table top RPG out there?” I have read forum posts, blog posts, e-mails and chats with friends. Sadly, I was unable to get a clear and concise answer.
I took my quest to the next level. I pored through just about every single RPG book and PDF I have collected in the last three years since I got into table top RPGs. It’s a shockingly large amount of material I have collected. I focusing my time on reading how each different RPG handles character creation and game mechanics as those are the areas I have issues with in the RPGs I have played.
The truth is, I didn’t know what to look for, but I will know it when I see it. I wanted simple character creation with lots of choices for races and classes. Something that would fit on one piece of notebook paper old school style. You should not need several sheets of paper and index cards to build your character and track all of their powers. To me that is no longer a pen and paper RPG. It’s something else that I don’t think the hobby has developed a name for. More
This is not going to be an official review of Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition
(M&M/DCA). It’s not going to be a review because after recently gamemastering my first game of M&M/DCA I still don’t have a firm grasp of all the mechanics. Once I do I will come back and do a proper review for this game. Till then think of this as a non-review review, of my first attempt at gamemastering M&M/DCA.
I will say this about M&M/DCA, my party has never laughed so much during a single gaming session and I think that says something about the game itself. From my first attempt at running this kind of game it is clear that it is not as rules heavy as Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is. My players where able to focus more on the story and worry far less about dice rolls. They all loved it.
As my gaming party showed up for our weekly game night know one knew which RPG we would be playing. No one had any prep and no one had any character sheets. I thought it might make for a better surprise if we just jumped in and I think that worked.
The above video and this post are a follow up to a post I wrote titled: Castles & Crusades Unboxing. It was particularly about the shipping and the conditions of the Castles & Crusades books when I received them.
I am going to take some time here to clarify my thoughts and opinion on a couple of other issues I had with the Castles & Crusades books that I did not bring up in the video due to time.
Based on recommendations from more than one friend and reviews I had been reading on the Internet, (or “tubes” as we say in Alaska) I ordered three Castles & Crusades books from Troll Lord Games. The Players Handbook, Monsters & Treasure and Castle Keepers Guide. I have heard nothing but good things about this game and I wanted to make sure I had a copy sitting on my book shelf for when my group and I where ready to play it. So I ordered it.
Two weeks later the game found its way to my hands. That’s a little more time than most RPG orders I make but, not a big deal to me. Like I said, I wanted the game ready for when my party was ready to try something new.
I picked up the C&C package from my post office yesterday and was a little worried because the box that the books where shipped in was looking a little beaten up. I tried not to let this bother me. In the past I have ordered RPG books from other companies that have come to me in beat up boxes, but the books where perfectly fine. My luck must have run out however, because these books where not in what I would call new condition.
When I got home I opened the box to discover that the packing used to protect the books – wads of brown paper – was only covering one side of the books as you can see in the picture below. The other side was resting against the box. So any bumps, dings, or bangs that the box encounter on this ride to Alaska would effect at least one of the book’s hard covers. Compared to my experience of ordering the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition book and Gamemaster’s Kit from Green Ronin, it seems like Troll Lord Games must have a troll in some dark and dusty basement doing all the packaging and mail orders. Green Ronin really set the bar high for how products should be shipped. Amazon.com does not even do it as good as them.
This was a great weekend when my wife came home from a trip to the postoffice with my Green Ronin‘s Mutants & Masterminds (M&M) 3rd Edition Gamemaster’s Kit. I ordered this thing so long ago that I had all but forgotten about it. I pulled out my camera and took some quick photos of the items enclosed in the box. As you can see, true to form Green Ronin has made sure that this produced was packaged with care just like all of the products I have ordered from them.
M&M’s Gamemaster’s Kit came with two items. A black and white paperback QuickStart Character Generator and a full color Gamemaster’s Screen.