The Life of a Game Designer – Part 1: Who do I think I am?

Game Night Blog

Epiphanies, revelations, and racks of self-doubt; all in the space of an hour.

A little over a year ago, I started this blog on a dare. One day, I was purposely over-complaining that I couldn’t find any good reviews for board games to buy our kids for Christmas. My wife, Diane, refused to take the bait and pretended to ignore me. “Uh hunh. That’s nice. Why don’t you do something about it,” she quipped back. Okay, okay, we’ll see about that.

2020 Review BannerNever dare an Irishman to do something stupid. You never know what will happen.

The next day, I had my response, “So, Honey, we bought a website.” Now the past year has been great fun, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely, but frankly it is a lot of work for a hobby. But I did help some friends with a few game purchase ideas and my Dungeons & Dragons stuff…

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Syp’s gaming goals for February 2020

Bio Break

January 2020 in review

  • My carefully laid gaming plans from last month got thrown out of the window pretty quickly and I found myself on a wild adventure that I had not foreseen.
  • So let’s start with Lord of the Rings Online — By around the fourth day of the month, I had finished up Rise of Isengard on the progression server, leaving me with little to do in that game. I put a bookmark in LOTRO for the rest of the month.
  • Playing Witcher 3 weirdly made me want to get back into Elder Scrolls Online instead (and the upcoming expansion that was announced didn’t hurt neither). So I dropped W3 for ESO and didn’t regret it as I made headway through more of Elsweyr on my Warden. Not really loving the combat, but the scenery and quests make up for it.
  • I spent a lot of time winding…

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Background details


I wrote recently on how much I like little details in the MMORPGs that I play; yesterday while playing World of Warcraft Classic, I was reminded just how much there is in the background that a player can easily miss.

The default viewing angle can miss a lot…

I’ve found the adage “always remember to look up” to be very true: if you live somewhere relatively urban especially. If you never look up when you’re walking around, you can miss a lot of detail. Architects tend, or at least tended, to build interesting stuff above ground level. This can be equally true in World of Warcraft (or any MMORPG). I’ve often looked up in a dungeon and been surprised by something unusual, or occasionally spectacular, on the ceiling or roof above. Flying around to do some gathering last night, I saw a few things that are easy to miss but…

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Night Below: An Underdark Campaign (1995)

Wayne's Books

By the mid-90s, TSR was financially struggling. They threw every idea into play and dropped under-performing product lines.

I’ve heard it said that TSR published nothing of merit in the 90s. In many cases, I’d have to agree (Spellfire cards and Dragon Dice come to mind). But they also released Planescape and Birthright, which were both clever and creative in my opinion.

The Night Below box set also came out at that time. I remember being astonished at a campaign starting out characters at relatively low level in an Underdark campaign, which was usually the playground of high-level PCs.

It’s a beautiful set, with a lot of callbacks to old school AD&D. I’ve got some eye candy photos further down.

I’m not the only one impressed with Night Below. Original sets go for big bucks these days. If you’re reluctant to spend that kind of money, DriveThruRPG has Night…

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Video Games are Good for A Lot of Things, Except Medical Advice


I don’t usually get all up in the news these days, but I must admit that this Coronovirus outbreak in China (which is spreading), has me at attention. With my own array of hypochondriatic tendencies, news of any sort of onset epidemic is enough to set me on edge…which leads me to seek out video games as stress relief.

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TSR Dungeons and Dragons Expert Rules Boxed Set Review

Roll Stats

Hey Stat Rollers, Bill with Roll Stats and it is great to be back in the saddle again. Back in front of you all, back where I belong! Knee-deep in the stat roller community! and before we get into the TSR D&D Expert Rules Boxed Set Review, I just want to take a minute and say thanks for the warm welcome back. You all have been great, and I do appreciate all of your concerns while I was gone. 2019 was a year… I’ll give it that. But, it’s in the books now and the sky is the limit for the roaring ’20s!

Anyway, I am back! So, today I want to take a look at the long-promised, but never delivered TSR D&D Expert Rules Boxed Set Review. This rules set was published in 1981 by TSR Products, and edited by Zeb Cook (David “Zeb” Cook) and Steve Marsh

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“You can Homebrew D&D into Anything!”

Cannibal Halfling Gaming

The strong increase in popularity of Dungeons and Dragons brought about both by the increased accessibility of D&D’s Fifth Edition as well as the growth of the nascent streaming and actual play communities has meant that there are a whole lot of people getting introduced to D&D. Now that this growth has been going on for a few years, there is burgeoning realization that role-playing games as a medium are capable of a lot more than dungeon crawls and Tolkien derivatives. This is great news for everyone, right? We all know there’s a whole world of RPGs out there, from the big glossy traditional games to indie zines and everything in between. Well, something’s getting lost in translation for some, and in the #dnd world on Twitter you’ve likely seen questions like this:

“How can I make John Wick in D&D?”

“What can you do to run Star Trek in…

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Raids week 158

Micki's Delirium

Raids 158 were Wednesday Jan 22 and Saturday Jan 25.


1. Project Nemesis LH

I’ve turned it into a routine to on Wednesdays post 1 h before the raids in #lfm-raids on Orien Riding discord. This because the Wednesday raids are less popular than the Saturday ones, and we’ve at times not been able to fill. This time we did not have this problem and were ready to start in less than 15 min after I posted. Osi was on Rudus (and I think Zulkis), Savagebull on Gish and I think Vad did laser. Completion time: 15 min, 4 s. Loot: 84 nemesis runes, 30 threads of fate, The Hallowed Splinters and The Wide Open Sky.

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