Immortal Redneck – Finally Finished – Video Games!

So, I finally finished Immortal Redneck, by Crema. If the name sounds familar, it might be because they’re the folks that made Temtem. And raised a bunch of money on Kickstarter. But Immortal Redneck is their first game, and frankly, I’ve had way more fun with it.

I’ll talk later about Temtem, but for now, lets just talk about Immortal Redneck. If I had to describe it sufficiently, it’s a rogue like version of Doom, with an Egyptian theme. The game itself is fairly straightforward. You pick a starting character ALA Binding of Issac. This character determines your starting weapons, special activated ability, and usually has at least one more passive gimmick. Then you go into a pyramid, fight your way through to the stairs, go up the next level where enemies get harder until you die or get to the top. On the way to the top there are two bosses. If you get all the way to the top, or if you die, you restart, and can spend money you’ve collected on your way up to increase your hp/def/attack/unlock characters. It’s a pretty standard rogue like structure.

Here’s the thing though. If the reason you start playing Immortal Redneck is because “Oh hey, roguelike” I don’t think you’ll actually have a very good time. Most well regarded rogue-likes have an aspect of “learning” to them, and that isn’t really present in this. You don’t really construct a build. The only thing you can change about your set up as you proceed up the pyramid is your weapon load out, if you find something interesting to replace it with. The only real power-ups, “scrolls” can be good or bad, and you don’t know what they are until you pick them up.

I like Immortal Redneck overall though, because its fun. While it doesn’t follow the standard rogue like gameplay, most of the guns are a joy to play with, and just fun to shoot things with. While it does lean a bit heavily into references to pop culture with some of them, (looking at you little cricket and woolololo staff) most of them are just very satisfying to use.

In addition, the voice acting is pretty good. The only real voice lines are from the titular Immortal Redneck, but I found myself actually rather enjoying how he’s described. Making your character likable in a shooter like this seems difficult when all you can have them really do is spout one liners, but these make the redneck out as surprisingly likable.

I enjoyed Immortal Redneck, and if you like shooters I’d say give it a shot. But if you’re looking into it for the roguelike elements, it may not be your cup of tea.

Tiny Towns – More Board Games!

A simple looking and enjoyable board game about making a better town then everyone else.

Another week inside, another board game! I actually ended up playing Tiny Towns about a week ago at this point, but it was a bunch of fun, so it’s still worth talking about. You can find the game here.

So lets talk about the game. Why is Tiny Towns fun? Well, at part because everyone is on the same playing field. In Tiny Towns, each player has a 4×4 grid, and on your turn, you choose a resource, and place it on a square on your board. Each square can only have one resource, and you’re trying to use this to complete patterns to make a building. When you finish a pattern, you remove the resource squares from the board, and place a building on one of the squares that you removed resources from to make the building.

Which is all very simple, except for one little thing: Whenever any player selects a resource, every other player takes one as well. And you will almost always have to immediately place it. So all of a sudden, two things are happening. The board is a lot smaller, and the selection of building material becomes very important. What are your opponents going to take? Does it look like they need wheat, so you can grab stone? Will giving them brick let them finish another building?

Now, if you’re thinking “Why doesn’t everyone just build the same exact thing?”, I was wondering that too. And that’s where a mechanic I haven’t mentioned yet comes in: Secret Buildings.

Each player starts the game with a single secret building. On the whole, theses buildings can swing the balance of the game quite a decent amount just based on their point value, which is pretty good. Even more importantly though, you can use them to throw off your opponents on what you’re planning to build, and what resource you might be choosing on your turn.

So, that’s your overview of the mechanics. So why is it fun? Well, in part because it’s straightforward. I’ve mentioned I like systems where you make a simple choice with complex outcomes. On your turn, you will pick a building material, place it, and then build buildings. And that’s it. There is no upgrade phase, there are no special materials that act as wildcards, just three simple actions. In choosing your material you have to deal with both what you’re trying to build while figuring out what it gives your opponents. At least for me, a lot of the fun of the game is in trying to read other players boards, and figure out what material they’re going to pick.

Oh, and the game is quite fast. I think the round we played was under 30 minutes? I enjoyed it quite a lot. Thanks for reading, and if you have board game suggestions for stuff to play while we’re all locked up trying to not die, please feel free to hit us up on our Twitter!

RPG Module Review – The Secrets of Shirakawa Castle

A fantastic adventure, that pulls from a set of folklore and stories that really don’t get much chance to shine in tabletop RPGs.

Module NameThe Secrets of Shirakawa Castle

AuthorsRCG Harlow/Rosemary CG (Same person. First link goes to her stuff on DM’s Guild, second link goes to her twitter.)

System/Character Level – DND 5E for 4-6 Level 4 players

Price – $4 – (We were given a review copy for free.)

This post will serve as part one of two of the Shirakawa Castle review. As such, its mostly spoiler free. While none of the plot beats are discussed, there may be some info about the types of Yokai encountered, the beings infesting said castle. Read at your own risk! So, lets get started shall we?

There are two big things about Shirakawa Castle that I think might turn people off, and that’s a real shame, because it’s a ton of fun. Graphically, the module doesn’t look amazing. There are no splash screens of amazing art, there are no bright colors. It looks like a word document. The second thing is the names. I’ll talk about this a bit more later, but I really wish a pronunciation guide/glossary was included. Tengu is easy enough to say. Osakabe-Hime, Yamatai, even the namesake of the castle, Shirakawa, not so much. One of the big pieces of feedback I during a post-game wrap up is that some of my players couldn’t remember who was who regarding the human family members.

So, now that we’ve gotten those small issues out of the way, how does the rest of the module play? Well, it’s a ton of fun! For starters, nothing in the module feels like a traditional monster. There’s no goblins or orcs. Instead, you get a menagerie of strange and bizarre creatures, including a giant foot that demands to be washed, a three tailed cat, kappas, and super small group of creatures called Yanari, tiny little men that like to cause havoc.

The module gives each of these their own statblock, attacks, descriptions, and even gives a bit of info about their behavior. To me, the Yokai are one of the strongest parts of the module, brimming with personality, and with interesting mechanics. The aforementioned Yanari for example, have the ability to swarm up a character and tie them to the ground. Each creature has something special about it, and also tends to have its own unique weakness, as you might expect from something of myth. In addition, most of the encounters can be handled non-violently, if you have players who would prefer to talk things out.

The module isn’t all combat encounters however. Players will most likely spend a decent portion of time exploring the titular castle, and interacting with it’s inhabitants. And this is where one of my second favorite things about this module comes in: The NPC Profiles.

Most of the time, when you get an NPC profile, you tend to get a few traits, or maybe a background. Shirakawa Castle does both of these, and then goes beyond, laying out for the DM the relationships each of the characters has with each other. Since a large portion of the module is investigation, this is a lifesaver when it comes to things like whose sleeping with who, or remembering grudges or problems. For me, this is one of the strongest parts of the module, since it prevents any sort of “Wait, but X said that Y is…” or stuff of that nature. For me, it made the NPC’s far more real then just being servants at the castle, or the lord, or the lady. And it made it much easier to roleplay them. It also prevents the problem of “Well, I thought they would encounter this NPC here, but instead X,Y,Z happened, what would they say?” Combined with the monsters, this is what really sells the module to me.

I’ll post part two of this review after we finish the module, but overall, my players had a ton of fun. While the module might look a little amateurish at a glance, the level of detail in the monsters and NPC’s mark it as anything but. It’s a fantastic adventure, that pulls from a set of folklore and stories that really don’t get much chance to shine in tabletop RPGs. That isn’t say it is perfect, but it’s weak points are only in presentation, and a few additional things that would be nice to have. If your players are board of facing the monsters of European myth, or you want a great mystery module with varied and interesting combat, I’d definitely recommend.

Afterword: I’d usually put my thoughts on running the module down here, with things I could have improved/changed, etc. But because this post is so long, and this review will be in two parts, with more specifics and spoilers in the second one, I’m gonna split those out into their own post. But yeah, players really liked it, I had a ton of fun running it.

Glory to Rome

Let’s talk about a great game you can’t buy unless you want to sell your kidneys.

As we enter another week of quarantine, I’ve spent a lot of time playing games with people over the internet. This week, it was Glory to Rome in tabletop simulator, a board game with a really weird ass history. While I could spend time writing about that, I’d just be retreading ground already covered by Cyrus Farivar, in his article on arstechnica. So yeah, if you want to see how a Kickstarter can go horrifically wrong, and why being in a relationship with your only translator for your production line might be a bad idea, go read his stuff instead. It’s fascinating.

(Side Note: I find the failure of Glory to Rome especially interesting as the only components for the game are paper and cards. It’s all cards! No complex inserts, no expensive plastic models, nothing. Where’s the Jason Schier of the board game industry? There’s probably a fascinating and horrifying story about global supply chains in this thing.)

So instead, lets actually talk about Glory to Rome. I had a lot of fun with it. I was playing with three other friends, one of whom had played before. I also got crushed, coming in last place. Generally speaking, I get pretty salty when I lose games, and while there was some of that, I mostly want to play it again.

Probably the thing I find the most impressive about Glory to Rome is the same thing I sorta mocked it for up above: the only component is cards. The cards are your resources. The cards are your buildings. The cards are your victory points, your actions, and clients. The game manages to pack a stupid amount of functionality into each card WITHOUT making them illegible or hard to read. (Unless you’re playing on tabletop simulator with blurry scans. In which case, yeah, they can be a bit hard to read.) But the fact of the matter is, the game feels like it does a lot with very little.

The second thing about Glory to Rome that I find interesting, and would be helpful if I played it again, is how fast the game is. Most building games I’ve played tend to sorta drag out near the end, getting to the point where you’re playing kingmaker, or where you’ve lost, but the game keeps going. Glory to Rome ends with a bang. Of the four people in our game, I would say the two highest scoring players earned most of their points in the last two to three rounds of play, in one person’s case, scoring around 20+ points in one turn. (My end game score was 12 total. 3rd place was 13.) There’s an explosive energy to it by the end.

I honestly don’t really have any nitpicks with the game, and honestly, if I could, I’d go out and buy a copy. But you can’t, and no one can. At the time of writing, Ebay shows maybe two copies of the first edition, clocking in at about $130, and a single copy of the “Black Box Edition” at $425 (To be fair, that’s including the $50 shipping. To be unfair, that’s probably more then it would cost you to go and get an entire copy of the game professionally printed.) The next several results are all for games that describe themselves as “Glory to Rome-like”.

If you want to play it though, there is still a way to do it. First, you’d need Tabletop Simulator installed, and then, theoretically, you would need to go and find a mod version of the game in the workshop. You know. Theoretically. And playing this way would still cost about $20 per person, since you’d all have to buy a copy of tabletop simulator.

But it would still be cheaper then buying the actual game.

RPG Module Review: The Great Egg Scramble

Module NameThe Great Egg Scramble

AuthorsDylan Teal

System/Character Level – DND 5E/4 Level 5’s (I ran it with two level 7’s though)

Price – Pay what you want, $2 suggested. ( I had 2$ worth of fun running it, so I bought it afterward.)

I was going to write this post later, and play Minecraft instead, but because I was talked into playing modded Minecraft, my instance is still launching. Seriously, why does this require apparently recompiling my entire game each time I want to launch a mod pack? It’s insane.

So, DND Module Review time! Today I’m gonna talk about a fairly fun adventure I ran last week for two the folks in one of my DND groups, when one person was just dead sick, and one couldn’t make it.

Woo! So, where to start. I actually had a lot of fun running this, and I think folks had fun playing it. It’s a fairly straightforward adventure, with a few encounters, and some custom enemies. It has maps, which is, as always, appreciated. They’re not super beautiful by any means, but they are functional, and the fact that they’re actually included means it won’t be too hard to remake them in whatever software you prefer if you decide they aren’t up to your standards.

While overall I like the module, there were a few places that it did feel a bit weaker/less fleshed out. The first place is the Spring Festival itself. Despite it being a semi-large part of the story, there isn’t much detail in what is actually being sold, whose present, other little bits of flavor. The closest we get is a brief description in the intro, and a few lines about how the party can find most mundane goods they might want, but no magic items, and how they won’t be able to find a horse/cart. And that’s more or less the whole thing.

Second place is the second NPC the players encounter, Lupin. While Lupin is fairly central to the module in terms of driving it forward, the module mostly only contains info about what Lupin knows, and what might happen if the players are able to persuade him to talk. For the Townsmaster Lepus however, we get a full set of information, info about his personality, and also a few other little things that help roleplaying him. I personally would have liked to see Lupin get the same treatment, especially since he’s arguably the main roleplaying set piece of the adventure. (The bandits end up threatening you/fighting you, Townsmaster Lepus is generally pretty helpful. Lupin is really the only one where players really can either sway him to their side, or totally fail to do so. )

Outside of these two places however, I generally felt I had enough to work with in terms of tone and flavor for the adventure.

Here’s what I would do differently if I ran the module again:

  1. Flesh out the festival in advance. Create one or two stalls to visit, selling knick knacks and trinkets. At the same time, make it very clear that the NPC’s in town won’t be willing to part with their carts. (My players got hung up looking for a cart in town when a better way is to try to make a deal with Lupin.)
  2. Decide on Lupin’s personality beforehand, and force the players to lead the negotiations. In my game, I sorta decided that Lupin was a bit pissy with the bandits, and had him take the lead in negotiating with the players. I think for more experienced players, having to really talk him into a deal would be more fun, and reinforce his grumpy sort of personality.

Afterthought:

One small part of the module I’m not thrilled about is the killer rabbit at the end. I think this part fits in best if you run the adventure as a one-shot, and want to just kill some of the party members at the end as a joke. Otherwise, it’s not fantastic, because the party will have done about 4 four encounters by this point. (The Bandits, The Dire Hares, The Return Journey, and the Bad Egg.) Throwing the rabbit at them WILL kill someone especially because the rabbit’s decapitation means that any player it brings down to zero hit points gets their head popped off like a marshmallow.

Until the next time I think of something worth posting, cya, and stay safe folks.

Updated: 4/25/2020 – This article linked to the wrong module/author on the DMG. We confused it with the similarly named module, “The Great Egg Hunt.” The module that was played/reviewed/purchased was in fact, The Great Egg Scramble. The article has been updated to reflect this information.