Wednesday, December 23, 2020

HeroQuest maps forever

I wanted to try my hand at something, and here is my current draft, just before the holydays... So that perhaps you might give it a try and send me some feedback, if you happen to play HeroQuest in these days of festivities.

What is it? It's a series of instructions and tables to generate a random map in HeroQuest.

It uses only the original board and the original materials (no additional monsters, no special furnitures, just normal dice, etc.). It also provides you with a mission or theme for your dungeon, so that heroes know why they're going in there (except for killing monsters and taking treasures) and who or what they're looking for.

It has some variety: so it can generate a dungeon only of green monsters, or just undead, or a standard mix, it can give life to multiple-levels dungeons, and has guidelines for basically everything, including hidden traps, secret doors, wandering monsters. There are also some simple rules for a few special rooms, to spice up things a little bit.

Of course it would run better as a program on your phone or on a website, but this is if you want to play totally off the grid - just print it up, and play forever!

(Feedback totally welcome! I tested it a few times but without playing, but I wanted to put a draft out for christmas when maybe you all have more time to play and give it a try!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A box for HeroQuest

Well, I didn't stop at mini-painting, but also found a great, large box for HeroQuest which is large enough for all the original materials, plus a lot of new miniatures. The original plan was to build one myself, but after checking the wood boards for sale in the local DIY store, I changed my mind (the wood looked either too thin or too heavy).

So I started checking ebay and amazon etc. and finally found a box that was large enough to fit the HeroQuest board (I would have liked more a smaller but taller box, but to fit the original board inside, I had to go for large and flat... Perhaps in the future I'll build my own board, to fold in 4 or 6 instead of 2...). Anyway: here is the box (closed... not much to see).

I guess you can find something similar, on amazon or ebay - as an example see this

As you can see from the link, the key was to look for a wine crate, large enough to hold 6 bottles in a single row. All the other wooden boxes (for jewels or decoupage) were too small for the HeroQuest board. Wine crates, though: large enough. Before you ask - this came empty (no wine inside) but I guess you could also find one which combines 6 nice bottles you'd enjoy, and keep the box for HeroQuest!

At the bottom of the box goes a foam tray with all furniture, plus pencils, dice, and there's enough space on one side for the manual, the Quest book, the hero cards, etc. There is plenty of space left on the side, so I will probably add prints of new adventures/heroes etc.

And there is plenty of space for the board, the terrible, large (too large) board.

The other two foam trays in the picture contain all the original miniatures (on the left) and many added miniatures (on the right) like alternative heroes.

And with the foam trays inside, here it is! I promised myself this summer that I would have had a painted HeroQuest set in a nice, organized box in time for christmas... and I made it, plus additional miniatures, and with the lockdown, all chrismas gaming is cancelled :-) I guess we'll play next year...

There is still room for improvements: I am thinking of the armory summary on the inside of the lid, plus maybe a rules summary or maybe something that would hold the Quest Book open at the proper page with the map... and of course, fill the last foam tray with another ten miniatures.

And because someone asked, here is the link for the foam trays:

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Finally finished painting the whole HeroQuest set

At the end of this summer, I started playing HeroQuest again with some family members, and I started painting the 2nd-hand set that I bought on eBay. I started with the monsters, and while also trying my hand at different miniatures (like modern GamesWorshop skeletons, some Reaper Mini heroes, etc.) I slowly built enough skills and confidence to paint also the Gargoyle and the original 4 heroes.

With the Gargoyle I also tried for the first time a little bit of wet-blending on the whip and the sword, and while it's far from perfect, I am happy with what I achieved so far.

Once those were done, I had the full painted set. If you are the proud owner of an unpainted HeroQuest set, I encourage you to pick up brushes and paint and try paiting. Having a full painted set makes a huge difference, and even if you're new to the hobby of mini painting like me, it just takes a little bit of practice to be able to achieve a more than decent result.

(If you're totally new to the hobby like I was, get your hands on some cheap miniatures, maybe on eBay, and do a little practice before you start with the HeroQuest precious, out-of-print, minis... but it really takes just a few test minis to improve... Maybe use Contrast paint, like I did, for skin and clothes, practice a little of dry-brushing and edge-highlighting for details, and you're good to go!)

I didn't stop with the regular HeroQuest miniatures, and I started expanding my set. I did it by searching on eBay for relatively old models, to maintain a consistent feel across the original and added miniatures... I bought some skinks, some goblin and orc archers, and heroes variants, plus added a new chaos warrior.

I am planning to add more in the coming months (I want to kitbash a goblin shaman and some orc variant, plus a few additional fimirs and maybe more undead and chaos warriors, and I need to see which arch-enemies I can come up with, besides the chaos sorcerer). Anyway, last pictures, below, is the full collection so far.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

How it was to paint HeroQuest

When I played HeroQuest again, after 25 or 30 years or so, what I had on the table was a second hand, very good set. All pieces were there, including candlesticks (I broke one while unpacking) and a perfect gargoyle (my sister tried to understand if the head was removable... it was, not just in the way she removed it...).

Anyway, accidents aside, the set was in perfect conditions, and unpainted. We played and it was like when we were kids. The monsters were green, sometimes white, the heroes red and in retrospective, they should be since they enter the lairs of the monsters and kill them one by one, so I guess it makes sense for the heroes miniatures to be blood red.

The furnitures made my players go wow almost as much as the miniatures. I'm saying it was almost like when we were kids because I was lucky enough to play with my daugther, my girlfriend, and my little sister and her husband - and none of them has ever played HeroQuest nor anything remotely similar. There were no discussions about the mechanics or their "simplicity if compared to ..." actually, in the first one or two quests they complained about "too many rules!" :-) 

So the sense of wonder and discovery was all there, and then I started painting!

It's something I failed to do as a teenager (I didn't even try); the few miniature games I had (or friends' games I played at their house) were all bare plastic. Even when my friends moved to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, for a long time they played gray (bare plastic, bare metal). In the end I moved to other games, and in general to other stuff in life.

Sometimes some of my old friends would show me a miniature they've painted (they were really good at it). I tried once to take a brush, painted a Bretonnian horse with a friend, gave up.

Well, not this time (I think it's called midlife crisis!).

And if you're like me, know that with under 100 coins worth of paints and brushes and primer, you can paint HeroQuest too! You just need to go slowly, and be patient. What you can see below, is the result of just a few months of work.

I assure you, it's not going to be perfect, but it's GREAT if compared to bare plastic!

So from the left, we have: skinks, fimirs, orcs, goblins, undead, chaos warriors and chaos sorcerer, and a mix of adventurers heroes.

They all have a little story to tell, and I'll be boring and tell you all about them!

- The skinks are actually the most recent addition to the set, made last week to extend the monsters range (and I'll add more in the future!)
- In the back row, the fimirs, the first models I painted! (I didn't know dry-brushing, and the metal was really messy and difficult)
- The orcs, with Ulag in brown and black (my first time taking the liberty of doing something "different" than what I saw on the reference images on the web)
- Front row, the goblins (they were the first were I tried to paint eyes, and they look a bit like The Kiss... then I went back to fimirs and orcs and did a slightly cleaner job)

- All the undead which were crazy easy between contrast paint and dry-brushing

- The chaos warriors and chaos sorcerer (I cursed all of the gods of chaos while trying to do the simple thin white lines on the chaos warriors

- And finally a group of heroes, from the back row: there is a female wizard (for my daugher), a female barbarian, a variant dwarf (I wanted to test Reaper miniatures), a resin elf reproduction (better than what I expected, with a recycled shield), a female elf for my sister, a red bearded dwarf (Chronopia model I found for sale) for my girlfriend, and then the (slightly larger than expected) resin sculptures of the barbarian (for my sister's husband - for now first and last attempt at NMM on the sword, because BROAAAADSWORD), the wizard (my daugher is considering switching to this model) and dwarf in the front

I didn't paint yet the original Gargoyle and original heroes... I am still afraid I will make a mess, and while original monsters are cheap to replace, Gargoyle and heroes are not...
Still, I expect before the end of the year to have the full - meaning, really, complete - set painted.
I will stick to a simple color scheme, be patient, and I will do the original heroes and Gargoyle as well.

Even if you never painted before in your life, if you have a HeroQuest set, give it a try. If you're afraid, buy a few spare miniatures and try with those. Be patient. Watch some videos (not too many). Make sure the videos are for beginners. Watch some more. Then paint. Paint. You might find it easier than you expected.

And I can tell you: when we played an adventure with ALL the miniatures on the board being painted, it was just GREAT.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

FEAR the DARK - HeroQuest fanzine issue number 2

 As a follow up on issue number one, here is number two with four new quests. These are all about the undead (as you can guess from the cover).

It also introduces the usage of double doors (two doors placed side by side, that open together... making the "barbarian stands on the door and kills monsters one by one" strategy a little less useful).

I am working on the adventures for issue three, and thinking about some changes starting from issue four... we'll see.

Issue 1 here if you missed it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Killing Ulag

So, last Sunday we played a little more... We were all worried for a possible new lockdown and in general for the whole Covid situation, so it was not a "regular" game. We all wore masks and I guess nobody was really focused on the game.

The best part for everyone was probably buying equipment at the start of the game. It was the first time they had enough gold coins to spend; the barbarian got an helm, the elf a shield, the wizard a staff. The dwarf had just 50 coins so had nothing to buy.

During the game the excitement for the new items they bought (giving a little defense boost to the barbarian and the elf, and a diagonal attack for the wizard) was fading quite quickly. I wonder if a slow progression of attack and defense dice will be enough to maintain a certain affection for the characters. The HQ rules are marvelously simple, but this means also that the characters are a little "flat".

Anyway, the game was quite easy; they learned their lesson and kept together without splitting the party, and relatively easily killed the monsters until they reached Ulag and the Chaos warrior in the final room. This is a simple quest, and was made easier by the fact that we're playing the Italian version which is one of those EU versions with monsters with 1 Body point only.

I gave the Chaos warrior and Ulag the American Body points (3 and 3 if I recall correctly) and this made the fight last a little longer, but a Ball of Flame by the wizard was putting an easy end to it.

I am not sure if it was the "right" call: we played with a certain set of rules and then I switched to more Body points for the final boss (which makes sense, yes, but it is still "cheating"). Yes, it was cheating for the purpose of adding a little tension and make the final combat last a little longer, and I didn't really have the chance to kill any of the heroes... but it still leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I tend to try to force myself to follow rules and obey the dice results - even when I don't like the outcome that much. The point is to make the best with what luck is serving on our plate... and the EU version of HQ is putting on my plate (and the one of my players) very simple quests...

What do you think?

Also, I want to think a little more about the equipment cards and possibly some "skills" cards... I don't want to make the game too complex or have players constantly looking at cards for special skills etc. but I also fear that a slow grind of one more attack die or one more defence die will be not enough to really get them attached to the characters.

Last thing: I received the resin remakes of the HQ heroes. They are really, really nice. I am still pondering if to paint or not the original miniatures (given their "value"), but in the meanwhile, I started with the remakes.

What do you think of the barbarian? (picture with and without flash)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

FEAR the DARK - HeroQuest fanzine

While the rest of the world talks about the new re-print (I'll call it re-print, with a new look, but just a re-print), here is my first little experiment after bringing back the game at the table after 30 years or so...

It's a short series of three adventures, and it is made to be played from zero, with new heroes. So it should fit any new group (new players, or veterans willing to start a new campaign without re-playing the original questbook).

It also introduces monsters little by little, and there is a nasty twist with the undead. I hope you'll like it...

I already have a draft for the next adventures, so the goal is to have a full campaign in a total of 3 issues of this fanzine... well, we'll see how it goes. Have fun!

Monday, September 21, 2020

A second HeroQuest session with the family

A few weeks ago I managed to get my daughter, my partner, my sister and her husband at the table to play HeroQuest - and last week we've met again for a second round. This time we played The Trial; as many others I used The Rescue of Sir Ragnar as the first introductory adventure.

I warned my players that The Trial is a harder adventure, and that they should try to remember the lessons that they've learned the last time. But as always, they wanted to explore and find treasures fast, which of course led to some troubles.

My sister (the elf) and her husband (the barbarian) ventured in the rooms at the bottom of the map, and the barbarian really managed to escalate things quickly. He went ahead opening doors even before getting rid of all the enemies left behind (counting on the elf to take care of orcs and goblins while he dealt with the fimir and chaos warriors). Unfortunately for them, they brought their 6 years old kid with them, and he was tasked with rolling dice for monsters. I don't recall how many times he rolled monsters' attacks that were all-skulls or nearly all-skulls, but definitely more than what statistics should allow him too :-) 

(he was playing with the Gargoyle all the evening, waiting for the heroes to go to the central room and suggesting several times to his parents that they should look for the entrance to that room... he was saying to them several times that the big monster was going to kill them all) 

While the barbarian and the elf were facing death like from the very start of the game, my daughter (the wizard) and my partner (the dwarf) moved towards the top half of the map, where the undead are. Skeletons, zombies and mummies were just recently painted and I was glad to bring them to the table. The dwarf and the wizard really took the game into hardcore treasure searching; they looked for gold in every room, while often the barbarian just went after more blood, and the elf tried to keep up and not be killed by the enemies left behind. The best part was a goblin which refused to die for like two or three consecutive turns, because of several lucky defense rolls, and was named "the acrobat" for how skillful he was in avoiding all attacks.

The dwarf and the wizard in the end took care of the goblins and the skeletons in the first rooms, but then faced a mummy with the zombies and had to retreat carefully while the barbarian and the elf rushed to help them. Together, they faced the undead in the tomb room. By then, they worked out some strategy, and I decided to add a little bit of extra-terror to the game. They wanted to lure the undead out of the tomb room, but the monsters did not exit and instead tried to lift the lid of coffin.

I didn't say what was inside, but just the threat was enough. They charged into the room, and then defeated the undead, and found the treasure. I should remember that HeroQuest is not just a boardgame and that every little piece on the table, with some narrative or descriptive bits, can change the perception from pure strategy to adventure, mistery, theat, fear.

They were out of healing spells, and they decided to avoid the Gargoyle in the central room. I guess the undead (and the barbarian) were a lesson they've learned (but I tought so too in the first adventure, and also this second time it took a little bit for them to favour caution over rushing).

When it was time for them to return, the wizard used Pass Through Rock to enter a room were they didn't search for treasures before, beating the others to it. We never discussed if they would share treasures equally or keep each what they've found... but I guess we're going for the selfish-mode approach :-)  Well, the wizard found a wandering monster instead of a treasure; my daughter survived the encounter but had yet another good reason to push for a retreat instead of a final battle.

The Gargoyle, this time, was undefeated. I might bring it up another time, to remind them of their failure!

Anyway, they all managed to find some treasure in other rooms, and we'll see next time if they have enough gold to buy something.

If you've read my previous play report, you might remember that my sister broke the head of the Gargoyle... well, that one is fixed. This time, instead, the casualties were an orc soaked in beer by accident (well, that just adds flavour to it), and the nasty goblin ("the acrobat") which kept rolling black shields and not dying which was thrown into the dead pile with a flick of rage when he finally succumbed (so much for honoring worthy opponents). This time, though, the miniatures were painted; I still have to assess the possible damage, but I need to teach the four adventurers to be a little bit more careful when they handle these little plastic pieces of history.

We should play again in a few weeks, and I hope to have the heroes painted by then... and we'll see how they deal with Ulag, the Orc Warlord!

Friday, September 18, 2020

More HeroQuest painting done

So here are a few more pictures of my progress painting the HeroQuest miniatures. They're far from prefect and I will probably fix many little details in the future, but for now I'm going to call them done and ready for the table.

I'm the next few weeks I'll work on the remaining monsters and I bought some remastered heroes on ebay... I'm planning to do the heroes last, since I can see my skills slowly improving mini after mini and I'd like the heroes do be decently done. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Painting HeroQuest

Not only I found a 2nd hand HeroQuest box in very good shape, but I bought colors, brushes, etc. and I am trying my hand at miniature painting. The goal is to have a fully painted set before the end of the year.

It's been like 25 years since I last touched a brush, and back when I was a teenager I was not very good at painting. I found out that even though my eyes are not the same anymore, I am much more patient now, and that helps a lot. And I use a magnifying glass, too :-)

So with the help of patience and video tutorials (which are really a big help! and those were also not available when I was young) and Contrast Colors, I am working first on the green monsters. It's not easy but if I manage to get in the right mood, miniature painting is very relaxing. And it feels good to have a visible, tangible project.

Here you can see a few pictures of goblins and fimirs. I used mostly Contrast for goblins, while with the fimirs I took more time to prepare them with a black wash. I struggle mostly with metals, but I am improving with those as well. I don't have pictures of orcs yet, but I will post those soon. Then it will be time to start with the undead. 

Next week I will host the 2nd game session for my family (partner, daughter, sister and her husband) and once the set is fully painted, I'll start a second group with my friends. I am writing several new quests with also a few house-rules to use with my friends, to get back to the sense of novelty and discovery that HeroQuest gave us back then...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Playing HeroQuest, first time after 30 years or so

As I wrote a few days ago, I am getting back to HeroQuest after I found a second-hand complete set online, and I managed to pay a reasonable price for it (not cheap, just reasonable considering it was missing nothing, and everything was in very good shape).
When I received it by mail, I opened the outside anonymous box, and it was exciting to slide out that old, black box with its powerful cover image. It smelled of mould and dust, but it was in good conditions, with just a split corner. I called my 15 years old daughter to the living room, and told her to open the box.

I just wanted her to experience the thrill I felt myself, 30 something years ago.
Perhaps it's not the same for a teenager girl (although she's quite into fantasy and anime and all the rest...) as for a 12 years old boy in the early '90s, but still...
She was excited about the miniatures, the board, the furniture, everything. She looked at monsters and compared them. She admired the hell out of the whole thing - she might have even said something with a certain degree of admiration for the game concept, and for the amount of material, for such an "old board game".
And she said perhaps she should be getting the Stranger Things D&D box for chistmas :-) 

Then the box had been sitting there, in a corner of the living room, for a couple of weeks. In the meanwhile I hunted for some additional miniatures (original fimirs and goblins, for a start). 
I want to start painting the original miniatures, but I want also some spare parts in case I make a mess.
I wasn't a good painter 30 years ago, and even though now I have a bit more patience, and better colors and tools, I expect the first few tries to be mediocre. Still, using a mix of contrast paints and regular paints, and testing on modern miniatures, have let me decently confident.
I would like to have a full painted set for the christmas vacation period, but I doubt I'll succeed... Well, we'll see.

Anyway, after a few weeks, we arranged the first game.
It was me (age 42) running the game for my daughter (age 15), my partner (age 40+ and little love for fantasy), my young sister (age 25) and her husband (age 29). My sister and her husband are both very much into fantasy and games (but too young to have seen HeroQuest back in the days), and so is my daughter, so my partner played along.

My daughter jumped on the wizard and I encouraged her not to hold back on spells - I told her the quest had less than 10 rooms to go through.
I tought it was important to say this: I remember many games when I was little with the wizard playing no part in the adventure and just finishing the game with almost all the spells still available. To play a part, the wizard must use the spells - and I prefer for her to end up short a few times than to just sit passively there.
This I think is an important part which the original game missed: I am thinking about a little house-rule to force the GM to give an approximate "size" of the dungeon to the players. In fact, getting some info or a partial map could be sometimes part of the adventure setup, or of the previous adventure.

My sister was quick to snatch the elf, while her husband took the barbarian (he has more or less the same physique), and my partner ended up with the dwarf (and couldn't care less, of course!).
After a very brief introduction about the movement and action rules (they would have been bored by a long explanation, I just gave them the basics and made sure to correct mistakes or oversights in the first few turns), we started The Rescue of Sir Ragnar.
It's easier but especially, more focused than The Trial, and I am sure many modern players just do the same as I did.
The Trial seems to be a bit too hard for beginners, and everyone liked the idea of having to save Sir Ragnar (except my partner who was wandering why they should waste time on someone who was uncapable enough to be captured. The 240 gold coins persuaded her).

They messed up things a little and of course ended up splitting the party (at least with some balance: the wizard with the barbarian, and elf and dwarf together on the other side of the board).
They got into trouble in small corridors - the wizard ended up often in the front line and was exposed to my monsters. This also meant that the barbarian could not get an attack in the first turn afterwards, having to wait for the wizard to move out of the way.
On the other hand, this gave my daughter plenty of opportunities to use spells, and play an important role. With the barbarian, they found some treasure and even detected the needle chest trap before it was triggered.
The barbarian was a little bit unlucky with the dice and this also made the monsters - even the little goblins - feel like dangerous foes. They were surprised when the first few of them went down easily with just one hit, but in the end all except the dwarf had 2 or 3 body points left at the end of the quest, and didn't even explore all the map.
They will respect the monsters next time, I am sure of it.

The elf and the dwarf went exploring in the "right" direction, and were close to Sir Ragnar, although taking some risks.
The dwarf rolled low on the movement dice and the elf didn't wait for his companion, so ended up facing an orc alone, and then two of them in the next room. He was surrounded for one turn before the dwarf could catch up and kill one of them.
This costed the elf several body points and next time my sister will be a bit more careful in her desire to reveal all of the board in a hurry. Again, a valid lesson.
Then they found the secret door and Sir Ragnar, which was represented by an alternative, badly painted wizkids miniature (the first I tried after the aformentioned 30 years hiatus). They called him looser and wondered why he would walk so slow, and not take part in the fights towards the exit.
Even my partner - very much not into role playing nor complex board games - had slowly succumbed to the part. It was a confirmation of how powerful even the simplest story can be, and how strongly a table full of figures drags you in, regardless of your initial stance.

Sir Ragnar was saved, as expected, but they took a few risks and in the very last round the wizard killed an orc, which could have killed him instead if the attack roll failed.
It was exciting and my daughter was initially a little worried (she had a few unlucky turns, before), then really cheering and saying nasty things to the cadaver of the orc. That's how you do battle.

The game proved to be a success, of course. Now, about the "technical" side of the evening:

1- Keep rules discussions short, before the game. It's better to explain a little more between the various turns and give a few initial suggestions during the game, than to wait too long before starting because of complex rules or too many options to present etc.
2- HeroQuest is great just because of this: it's simple! Move and act, and not much more. For anyone who played it already (or a similar game), it's dead simple, but for a beginner? (move with dice, understand the spaces on the board, act and move or move and act - then waaaait! - enough actions for sure, understand combat, start to discover the underlying strategies... there's more than enough).
3- Keep a decent balance between interesting rules and interesting "fantasy" materials (miniatures, stories, etc.). Optimal rules without stories are boring. New miniatures (i.e. monsters) will keep players entertained even on basic rules, for a while. Then more complexity or something new is needed, to give life again to the old materials. Then new materials can be introduced again, etc... Keep a decent cycle and the game will remain not just entertaining, but will provide that little sense of wonder we all risk to lose with our "we've seen it all" attitude.
4- It's better to add complexity game after game. I will have to think a little more about this, but perhaps if I start to write the fanzine with an HeroQuest reboot, the first couple of quests should not have all the basic rules coming into play. For example, a quest without monsters will allow players to understand movement and searching. It would be challenging to make this interesting... well, perhaps a complex labyrinth where there are early traps to make players understand that they need to be careful, then dead ends which will teach to search for secret doors, locked doors to teach to search for treasures (keys), etc. And a final monster so they can get their hands bloody.

NOTE to self: I need to be careful especially with the many house-rules I started to think about. These too should be introduced little by little, even for experienced players, or the auto-pilot of old rules will kick in (or just boredom for new players having to learn too many rules).

About the actual rules:
- Perhaps something at the start of the quest to give players some minimal info (rumors, suggestions by the GM, partial maps)
- For now, narrow corridors and monsters have earned some respect, as did outnumbering the lonely elf (no changes for now)
- Movement dice: yes, it's a thing of the past, but look what it did to the elf. And I like the idea that players do not have a fixed movement (especially when they need to stick together, or if they need to run away... it just adds to the thrill of the game!). So for now, they're definitely staying
- Just a random thought - give up two spells to recover a used one? (probably not right away; seems like a nice power for an artifact)

Unfortunately, only one picture was taken (and not a very good one...).
And the head of the Gargoyle was broken when my sister was trying to understand how the pieces fit together... well, this happens to everyone who plays, right?

Friday, August 21, 2020

The situation is fine, thanks!

 I've been away from this blog (and gaming) for a while now. I received a few mails inquiring about the current situation and I want to reassure everyone: I'm fine, and I must consider myself lucky. I've not been affected by the covid situation (moreover, basically no one I know had the virus nor suffered too much from a personal or ecomical point of view). This is something to be grateful for.

I want to thank anyone who reached out - these were unexpected kind gestures and I am grateful for them.

I also hope to find you all in good health and that this covid situation did not cause any serious trouble.

Continue to keep safe; autumn is approaching (and winter is coming). The situation is still serious and there is not going to be a silver-bullet solution to this problem, I'm afraid. The virus will not go away easily, and we all might face more quarantine, more economical issues, more personal losses.

I imagine it's hard to give up hope, but facing reality does not mean being hopeless nor helpless. It means to be prepared. I am not sure of what's going to happen in the next few months, but I can only suggest to keep an eye on the numbers. Numbers don't lie. 

Do your best to separate numbers from how they're presented. Read what scientists say, rather than what politicians or gurus say - or at least, that's my personal suggestion. Be prepared for a winter as harsh as it was when quarantine begun.

Now; enough of this. This is a blog about RPGs and especially OSR. For those of you who understandably are interested only in my gaming materials, just be aware that I am switching my focus.

I bought on ebay a second hand HeroQuest box, I bought miniatures and paint, and I am traveling back in time 30 years to the '90s. 

This is what the blog will be about, when I will start posting again. See you soon!

Friday, March 20, 2020


Hello everyone,
Some of you are in quarantine already (I'm writing from the north of Italy, so I know what it feels like), most of you will be very soon anyway.
What can I do about it? Nothing, except giving everything away in Pay What You Want, to make it easier for you to grab something to pass the time. If you like what you read, or want to show your support, feel free to throw me some money - but if you are stuck in the house with nothing better to do, download everything for free.

Well, there is something else I can do, for all of you who are not in quarantine... I am in the north of Italy but most of my customers are from other countries, so let me tell you something:

Be VERY careful, be STRONG, but be PESSIMIST. If you are not in quarantine yet, make plans about it.

Not just food - and definitely not guns... (if we will ever get to the point when we run out of food or we need guns, I'm the last person to take advice from, and my email won't save you)
Make plans about your space (how can it be made more comfortable for months of quarantine? What is broken and needs to be fixed before the quarantine? Should you move somewhere else, if you have the opportunity?),
about your physical health (get ready to do some exercise indoor, make a daily workout schedule, buy what you need but most of all: get in the mindset that you WILL HAVE to do exercise at home; it's important!),
and mental health (do not panic, reinforce your network of family and friendly connections, get to know your neighbors, find a therapist who can work online, call a truce on any war you might have with people next to you),
buy/prepare now what you will need later (internet connection, decent hardware, medicines, books, materials for your kids, for you, for your hobby, for your partner, etc...).

Make a list of all the things you wanted to do and never had time for... because you're about to have plenty of time!

This virus WILL pass (meaning also: it will pass through your country too, before it's gone!), but there will be sacrifice to be made. Do NOT think: it won't happen TO ME, it won't happen HERE. It might, indeed, not happen to YOU, but it will affect your country, your region, your city - someone you know. I wish all of you the best of luck (I'm not one for prayers), but unless you're lucky enough to live on a tropical island (or somewhere similar), your life will be touched, somehow. Whatever they tell you: this will last for MONTHS, in a form or another.

ONE LAST THING: if your government tells you not to worry, do as you wish... but I think it would be very wise for you to make plans and take action as if the government was wrong and your instinct (your healthy fear) was right.
I bet they have a private hospital ready for them - do you have the same? Do your parents or grandparents have a team of private doctors? Does your family have a secret medicine we don't know about? The virus itself is not terribly lethal; but plenty of people suffer from other diseases or are too weak because of their age, to fight it properly. And hospitals are made for REGULAR situations; this is NOT a regular situation. Many people will die because of pre-existing conditions, age, or lack of proper treatment. The more the virus spreads (through all the people with no symptoms or not careful enough), the more the epidemic (and the quarantine) will last, and more people will die.

So, be careful, stay safe, play games, and see you all at the end of this!
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