Sunday, June 29, 2008

DM of the Rings

I'm sure anyone who's ever played D&D knows that the original premise of the game was Lord of the Rings. Especially if you've ever seen the original first edition rules, which try very hard to guide everyone into following the archetypes as seen in the books. Later additions were made, expansions added, alternate ideas tacked on, and now the game is much more open than it originally was.

The focus of the game has changed as well from the original point of Tolkien's works. In the books, it was all about the battle of good vs. evil. The game became an adventure of slaying monsters and collecting treasure.

Nowhere has this been better illustrated than in the webcomic DM of the Rings by Shamus Young. He describes the point of the comic perfectly in the first strip, so I'll let his words stand for themselves.

But my point is this: so many works (both in RPGs and in literature) are so thoroughly derivative of JRR Tolkien's works that the term "fantasy" has come to be a very cliché term. Whereas it once meant "the creative imagination," or "a capricious or fantastic idea," it now means "a work of fiction involving magic that takes place in a pseudo-medieval (or, on occasion, based on other periods or places in history, such as Roman or middle-eastern) setting and often involves supernatural creatures like elves and dwarves, especially as seen in Lord of the Rings."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Board Game Review - Betrayal at House on the Hill

At long last, I have internet at home again. This means that I can start updating this site again. I'll try to maintain my rigorous schedule of one post every Sunday.

So for my return post, I'll review Betrayal at House on the Hill. This is nominally a horror game, but I always prefer to think of it as an adventure game. What appeals to me is not the horror genre aspect, but the surprise twists of the scenarios.

First, let's get the statistics here:
Strategy: 2
Randomness: 4
Complexity: 4
Humour: None.
Attractiveness: Pretty.
Expected Length of Game Play: one hour.