Chalkboard Gaming Table

Today Awesome Dice demonstrates how to convert your basement gaming table into a chalkboard surface:

Like many gaming groups, our game takes place on a crappy old kitchen table down in the basement gaming room. I was pondering the water-damaged surface one night and had a great idea — make the table surface into a chalkboard!

Chalkboard Gaming Table

They actually make chalkboard paint, which makes it incredibly easy to turn your gaming table into a chalkboard gaming table. The chalkboard surface is easily erasable with a chalkboard eraser, and you can always wipe it down with a damp cloth if you want to remove all traces of chalk. … See Full Post.

Shuriken Clan Cards

This is a Shuriken preview post. In Shuriken, each player takes on the role of one of five rival ninja Clans. Each Clan is represented by a 8″ x 4″ Clan Card:

Shuriken Clan Card

Click to Embiggen

The Clan Cards serve three purposes, in addition to looking darned good:

  1. Each Clan has a special ability available to only that Clan. Clan Takashi, pictured above, gets to skip a phase of combat, but only if Takashi is the one to start the combat. These Clan abilities often influence the strategy of playing that Clan.
  2. The Clan cards track the total number of ninja that can be moved with a move action, and the maximum number of spaces those ninja can move. These are tracked with glass beads.
  3. The Clan card also has a convenient list of what players can spend their 3 actions on, which is helpful for first-time players.

This is the first game component with finished graphic design, and it is exciting to playtest the game with something that looks good!

Shuriken Hour of Night Cards

This is a Shuriken preview post. The Shuriken board game uses two decks of cards. The Hour of Night deck provides global effects for each round, and acts as the timer for the game.

Shuriken Hour of Night card

Shuriken comes with 20 Hour of Night cards; however, in any given game only a random 10 are used. This ensures that players won’t know which effects are going to be present in any one game. At the beginning of each round of the game a new Hour of Night card is revealed, triggering a global effect for the round that replaces any effect of the previous one.

In this example, the Dark Future of Chojiro Kazaki, the global effect is that the player who rolls for damage gets to choose casualties (normally the player taking casualties gets to choose which of his or her ninja are captured). This effect will last for each players turn this round, and the next round a new Hour of Night card is revealed, replacing this effect with a new one.

Game Timer

The deck also acts as the timer for the game: since there are 10 cards in the Hour of Night deck, it limits that game to 10 turns. Personally, I’m a big fan of games with timer mechanics, which prevents the kind of endless games that can happen with victory point goals or player elimination.

The timer aspect of the Hour of Night deck also gives players the option of changing the duration of the game: choose to play with more Hour of Night cards in the deck for a longer game, or fewer for a quicker play.

The game, however, is balanced for 10 cards: too few and players won’t have sufficient chance to recover from bad combats; too many and players will run through the entire Mission Card deck (more on that in a future post) and the entire board will be destroyed from excessive combat!

Awesome Enterprise Funding Shuriken Board Game Kickstarter

Shuriken is a ninja-themed board game created by Jon Cazares and Awesome Enterprise’s Brian Wood. Original design of the game began in 2009, but with no way to pay the huge cost of printing a big box board game with hundreds of plastic minis, the prototype and rules were left on the shelf for years.

Now with Kickstarter changing the way the board game industry operates, Awesome Enterprise is funding completion of the game and a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise the money to get it printed. Awesome Enterprise funds will go toward graphic design, sculpts, and some of the artwork needed, as well as money to build prototypes and market the Kickstarter campaign.

The Shuriken development is nearly complete, and the game is now moving outside of the close-knit playtesters into a wider range of playtesters.

Currently we are aiming for a Kickstarter campaign to launch in spring or summer 2013. While the next playtest phase happens, Awesome Enterprise is beginning to source art and design components. If all stays on track, in spring the game will be ready for blind playtesting and that feedback will be incorporated into the Kickstarter version.

Keep an eye on the Shuriken page and the Shuriken category here on the site for more news on this game of ninja warfare.

Dice Randomness Testing

Today Awesome Dice released the results of an exhaustive 10,000 roll test of Chessex and GameScience dice to see how randomly D&D dice really roll:

The founder of GameScience, Lou Zocchi, has long claimed that GameScience dice roll more true than other gaming dice. In a well-known GenCon video Zocchi explained why GameScience dice should roll more true.

His logic is that due to how dice are made, traditional RPG dice are actually put through a process similar to a rock tumbler as part of the painting and polishing, and this process  causes the dice to have rounded edges. In theory the uneven rounding gives the dice an inconsistent shape that favors certain sides. GameScience dice are not put through this process, which is why they retain their sharp edges and is also why their dice come uninked.

While Zocchi’s makes a good argument about egg-shaped d20s, what was lacking was any kind of actual testing of how the dice roll. Nowhere were we able to find any tests of d20s — either GameScience or traditional d20s — to determine whether or not they roll true. As giant fans of dice and an impartial third party, we decided to run a test ourselves and see just how randomly RPG d20s really roll.

We pitted GameScience precision dice against Chessex dice (the largest RPG dice manufacturer) to see what science has to say.

d20 dice randomness test results

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Awesome Dice Announces Dragonscale Dice Bags

Today Awesome Dice announced the new Dragonscale Dice Bags being offered for sale on the site:

We spend a lot of time here at Awesome Dice searching for the coolest dice we can get our hands on (we also spend too much time rolling dice). Along with that we also try to find the coolest dice bags to carryall those sweet dice — and on the dice bag front we’re pretty sure we found the coolest dice bags in the entire world. Seriously, these things are amazing.

Dragonscale Dice Bags

Here’s a look at the black dragonscale dice bag:

Black dragonscale dice bag

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Google Statistics on D&D vs Pathfinder

Today Awesome Dice released the results of Google research into what players are using Google to find: is Pathfinder really more popular than D&D 4th edition? Awesome Dice looks for answers:

With the 5th edition D&D Next playtest going on, the D&D Edition Wars are about to have yet another competitor in the mix. In the recent past it’s been reported that Pathfinder is outselling D&D in the hobby market, and possibly other channels as well. But in the fight for sales the only competition Pathfinder has is 4e; however, D&D 3.5 remains beloved in the hearts of a huge number of gamers. We thought it would be interesting to try to dig up some statistics on the popularity of all editions of Dungeons and Dragons — and Pathfinder — rather than just the ones that are in print.

Enter Google.

Google is the largest search engine by a huge margin. With a 70% market share in the US and far more in Europe, Google serves over a billion searches a day. As a result taking a look at what people are searching for on Google gives us a nice qualitative glimpse of the interest level in different D&D editions, and Pathfinder. Happily, Google provides some tools to let us see a little bit of the data of what is being searched.

D&D editions monthly searches on Google

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