Hobby shop tweaks

Wednesday, 18. August 2010

Very busy week here, so I haven’t had time to write much in between travelling and preparing for testing.  Reading Madbrew here, and he has some good suggestions as to trying to make hobby stores work out a bit better business wise. I’m especially noticing it since apparently more of the boutique type shops around here are just getting absolutely killed. This of course, makes it harder to get various items on short notice..

Most of them are quite good, but the main thing I might caution against with having an event every night is to make sure you rotate what groupies you’re trying to drag in. Otherwise, it’s your events get somewhat watered down and don’t quite pull the people they possibly could.

The ideas on impulse buys are very good, but I would take it a step further. Make it part shop, and part cafe. Providing some good food at a reasonable price is enough to keep the doors open by itself, but makes any events hosted all the sweeter. Plus not everyone has time to cook nowadays, as sad as that might seem.

The other thing I would attempt to do is if the space is available, go with some other smaller boutique type items that are hard to come by.  It might even work out better to have a partner running another store, or perhaps a number of stores all sharing similar interests.  That way you can pull traffic in a mall-like fashion, but it will be far more focused on whats being sold.  Maybe Chinese goods, or some sort of other import business. Anything that is somewhat collectible or nerd related would do very well in my opinion. Even a bigger plus if you do Internet sales, use the store as only pseudo warehousing/show room, and have it be mostly a bonus.

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The incredible shrinking hobby shop

Monday, 2. August 2010

One of the real upsides of being able to travel is that I get a good opportunity to look around for shops that otherwise aren’t available in the greater Detroit area. Shops like.. hobby shops that actually carry games now. Yes it’s true; we have very few good ones in the Detroit area and most stores that carry games also carry them as a byproduct of carrying books… or happens to be a games workshop store.

Due to a number of earlier factors such as
1) Rising real estate costs due to wage inflation
2) Shrinking market share of the entertainment market
3) Difficulty in properly stocking a store with items to move
4) Rise of Internet sales

All of the old time hobby shops in the area closed down for trendier things such as coffee ships or restaurants. Now that the real estate market is slowly coming back into reality (mind you, it’s not there yet) It is slowly starting to recover now.. thankfully, but most of the stores aren’t carrying games. They are highly specialized in what they’re carrying such as hobby train supplies, RC cars, RC Aircraft, crafting stores (Such as Michael’s) and inevitably have to have an online component that caters to a similar specialty.

Of course as a result there is no real physical locale to meet up with other gamers and play short of hijacking various local message boards in stores. Even then you’re still looking for play space if you’re not familiar with the people in question.. I have no problems inviting people over, but I need to know the people in question for a while. The above caveat obviously does not apply to any of the GW stores, as there are a few of those around. Which is fabulous.. unless you don’t feel like playing that particular system.

Any other locations having similar problems?

Also if there are some places in the Detroit are that opened up and I’m missing, I’d be happy to link to you. (Not to mention come in and check the place out.)

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Pondering Poison

Friday, 30. July 2010

Blackrazor has reminded me of how much I hate the old school rules of instant death for poison.  Yes, the attack damage is often more lethal than the poison particularly to lower level characters.  Still, something dosen’t quite sit right with it.  While there undoubtedly poisons out there that are lethal, even the ones we do consider “extremely lethal” often take their very sweet time to meet out the ultimate results in death.  A few examples below.

Coral Snake- Delay of several hours before the venom takes effect, but the results are potentially neur0muscular paralysis, death occurring when the lungs fail. This may get more hazardous because it is apparently no longer profitable to produce anti venom through the FDA licensing process. Awesome.

Black Widow – Cramping, Abdominal pain, Perspiration, Nausea, etc. Death is rare.

Sea Wasp - This one does kill them as quickly as possible, just to prevent it from tearing up the jellyfish. Death occurs within 4 minutes, assuming you get it badly enough. Excruciating pain, and shock/drowning occurring as well.

King Cobra - Large amounts of toxic venom injected, typically death occurs within 30-45 minutes. Lethality rate on this one is actually pretty high 33-66% depending on treatment.
Read more

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Wednesday, 7. July 2010

I’m always looking for tools to enhance gaming, or to simply make life easier and allow for more time to do what I enjoy. Even better if the tools in question are open source or freeware.

RPtools are a set of well designed loosely defined tools which can do most tiresome functions. The more common games are well laid out and tuned, but the more esoteric ones require some code tweaking. The 2 released tools handle mapping and initiative, but there are several others in development that do tokens, characters and dice. Go look!


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Heavy Gear Overview

Friday, 18. June 2010

I’ll give you something of  an overview here of some of the systems I’ve played with before.  In this case, the game is produced by Dream Pod 9, Heavy Gear is primarily setup as a tactical combat game between giant robots, or “Gears” in this case.  Fortunately however, it’s very well scaling and transitions excellently between the tactical game and role playing it one so desires.

The setting is a planet called Terra Nova, abandoned by an earth expeditionary force and left to fend for themselves.  When the earth forces return many years later seeking to reclaim their “lost” territory, the forces of Terra Nova have other ideas, and eventually beat them back after a bloody war.  Terra Nova has its temperate and even icecap areas, but the general climate is desert and wind blown badlands.  The Northern and Southern factions (roughly representing the US’s union and confederate forces.) are in a cold war with the badlands representing buffer and somewhat of a free fire zone between them.  As one might imagine, this leaves considerable room for skirmishes and dust ups even though there is no official open warfare declared.

The game uses a brilliant dice system thats quite simple to learn.  Each point in a skill reduces the chance of a fumble exponentially, versus the crummy flat 5% chance you get in most d20 systems.  Damage or injuries are quite simpley handled, they’re either light, heavy or dead.  Each level of injury results in a -1 or -2 from your skills, which can be potentially devastating when you’re looking a 6 being your normal high.  The results are that in combat, equally matched contestants tend to grind each other down before getting a kill shot in, rather than one just overpowering the other in most cases.  Granted, we all know how fickle dice can be.

The system also scales very nicely, typically in factors of 10 depending on if you’re going upscale to very large vehicles, or downscale to people on foot.  This means there is no relearning of rules to work with the rpg. Instead of damage, you simply have light and heavy wounds, with each character being able to take only so much before the give out. How much that is depends on a bit of luck.

All in all;  Heavy Gear is quite a unique setting, with a well thought out system to match.  The game is well supported with supplements for nearly everything.  We can only hope DP9 continues to put out such well refined products into the future.

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Character Sketches

Friday, 28. May 2010

For some of us, it helps to have a visible picture of what we’re trying to look at.   Unfortunately, not all of us are particularly artistically inclined (myself included.)

Here is an interesting little resource thats been around for a while that allows you to put together template drawings in effort to flesh out what a character looks like.  It’s been around for quite some time now (I seem to recall the v1 edition being around at least 10 years ago.)


Your mileage may vary, but it’s another useful resource if you don’t have a pocket artist.

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Wednesday, 12. May 2010

Taken directly from Miriam Websters

Main Entry: et·y·mol·o·gy
Pronunciation: \-jē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural et·y·mol·o·gies
Etymology: Middle English ethimologie, from Anglo-French, from Latin etymologia, from Greek, from etymon + -logia -logy
Date: 14th century
1 : the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language
2 : a branch of linguistics concerned with etymologies

Or in short, the components and meanings behind names.

Ideally, we want our characters to be a little more in depth in having a name just because it “sounds cool.” You want them to actually epitomize something. This of course, requires a little research into what names actually mean. While the net is generally useful for this, you’ll of course come across a tremendous amount of rubbish in the process. To simplify, here are 2 very good links.



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