Monday, May 16, 2011

The Best Commercial The Game NEVER Had...

À La Recherche Des Temps Perdu

Two weeks ago I was looking for the perfect numbered hex-map online.

This had started to become something of a nightmare for me because although I know that they had one in the back of an old citybook by Judges Guild (that I had bought the same day in 1985 that I picked up FANTASY HERO), but I didn't like the size of the hexes involved. Frankly, they were too small for my eyes to make out. I'm sure I could have blown them up to something workable if I had gone to a copy shop but I just didn't have the energy to cart it all over there and get the hexes just so and start to transfer the other map (the one from Verbosh) that I was thinking of using. This wasn't something that would have bothered me all that much about three years ago, or even ten years ago - back then I would have done the extra work without blinking an eye, and whether or not my beleaguered eyes could see what I was doing wasn't something that was ever an issue when I was in my teens.

In my teens, I was the one in our group of friends who made the maps for things when we were gaming -- specifically for the kind of huge complexes that the bad guys had when they were up to their nefarious villainy in our ongoing game of CHAMPIONS .

I tended to host the games and I tended to do all the prep. I had tried to set it in the Marvel Universe back-in-the day, and that meant a lot of adaptation and guess work, and metric conversion, and it being CHAMPIONS, a good deal of math. This was about three years before TSR licensed a proper Marvel game (and by that point we'd pretty well burned out on superheroes as it was and were playing a lot of JUSTICE INC. ) That was a game that I suspected I liked a lot more than the group (the troupe? maybe we WERE a troupe - I think I'm going to look into that), but we always seemed to have a good time. I liked the kind of meticulous work that went into game-prep and I always felt that it used to pay off, eventually, whenever I was running things - be it the superhero game I just mentioned or one of the Call of Cthulhu games that I ran for Blackmore and Michelle back in the 90s.

And here I was again - or am, rather, still.

I managed to find the hex-grid I wanted online in an excellent resource site hosted by Lord Kilgore. He has a ton of other serviceable things just waiting for your usage, if you are so inclined (believe me, Joeski -- I'm following the rules).

Now I have to determine how many hexes I need per mega-hex for the sandbox styled D&D campaign that I'm intending to run sometime in the near future. This is something of a poser because, as it has been pointed out in a few places by a few people all of whom have had more recent practical experience with the question, that will really determine how much the people playing get to do during the course of a session - or depending on how often we can get together to play, during the game itself.

And every now and then, especially on days when work has been a pretty nasty slog, I just figure that I might not have the time to do any of this. But then it kicks in again - just today over lunch I was carefully copying 3rd level clerical spells onto colour-coded index cards so that sometime in the future I can just paperclip them to the stats of whatever antagonist my players are running up against rather than having to look em all up in the book again. It's a time saving device. Really. No, REALLY.

I'm a 44 year old man - what the Hell am I getting myself into?

Well, lemme tell you about that.