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Supplies to Buy For New Dungeons and Dragons Players May 31, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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We’ve been talking about the ins and outs of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition on this website for the past few weeks, but up until this point I haven’t specifically offered any advice for regular supplies and materials players can use to get the most out of their experience playing. Today, we will rectify that.

Before we get started I just want to make it clear that this guide focuses on everyday items anyone can get to help them play D&D, it does not include any 5th Edition books, so if you don’t already have them you will be able to find the Player’s Manual, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual at your local bookstore, hobby shop or online. We’re also not going to be talking about D&D specific items and accessories like dice or figurines, which can be found at your local gaming store or online.

So what basic supplies do you need to help you make the most out of your Dungeons & Dragons game, and where can you find them?   Writing aside, I was never much of an artist growing up so I had little need for things like crayons, markers, posterboard or colored pencils and I always resented getting assigned school projects that required them. I realize the irony that since learning how to play D&D I’ve made more trips to my local office supply store than I did during all the years I spent in college and now you can reap the benefits!

You’ll be able to find a lot of these supplies at any office supply store, but I’ll make a special note of any harder to find supplies when applicable.

  • Plain Printer Paper – Most material available on official D&D websites can also be printed, including Modules, Handbook Eratta, or Character Sheets. Its always handy to keep that material with you when you play, so you may want a lot of paper to have a physical copy of anything you need. If you want to be more eco-friendly, I recommend printing your documents in double-sided mode or stay tuned for a later tip.
  • Graph Paper – Dungeon Masters and Players alike may prefer to have a supply of graph paper to help them map out dungeons, caverns or whatever other locations they can imagine.  The grid pattern on the sheets make marking rooms much easier.
  • 3-Hole Puncher – You may find some of the modules or manuals you print out are too big to staple, but if you three-hole punch them, you can bind them together much easier.  The margins on most 5th Ed printed manuals allow space for 3-hole punches, but not the eratta.  If your office doesnt have a 3-hole punch already, you can buy a new one for like $20-30 US.
  • 3-Ring Binders – Perfect for storing and protecting any large stacks of material you’ve printed and 3-hole punched.  Some binders can also include side pockets perfect for keeping character sheets or errata safe.  Cost can vary on the price of 3-ring binders depending on size and quality.  Unless you’re bringing these binders to school every day you’re not going to need to buy expensive heavy-duty ones, and in some cases it can be more cost efficient to buy several smaller binders than one large one. Buy a few, they can range in price from $1-$5 US.
  • 20-Gague Vinyl – Special thanks to Nate from WASD20 for this tip. This material, when you put it over something, instantly turns any grid or graph paper into a reusable surface. You’ll only need enough to cover a table surface.  This material may be harder to find in a common office supply store or hobby store, but I have seen it for sale at fabric stores, where it can be easily cut to your length needs.  Thinner vinyl will cost less but you could probably find 20-gauge at a price of about $10 a yard.
  • Wet-Erase Markers – If you’re planning to use a reusable gaming surface, you’ll need Wet-Erase markers.  Permanent felt-tip markers may write fine on vinyl or graph paper, but true to their name…they can’t be erased.  For some reason, I had trouble finding these markers at my local office supply store, but you could probably find a pack of five at your local Walmart for about $8 US.
  • Pencils with Erasers – You can never have too many of these.  You’ll be adding and subtracting a lot of information to your character sheets as you play, so make sure to use pencils that can be easily erased!

These tips assume you already have access to a printer, since material can be printed or copied.  If you don’t have a printer, I recommend checking out your local print shop, since not only will you be able to print any material you need from there, you will probably find a lot of the items on this list there as well.

I know what you’re saying, this is the year 2017, can’t any of this stuff be modernized?  The answer is yes if you have the money for it.  If you prefer more of a digital edge on your pen-and-paper reference material, your tablet computer is a great tool for storing manuals, no paper or three-hole punch needed.  Websites like DND Beyond offer reference material you can access from your tablet.  I’ve also heard of cases where more high-tech Dungeon Masters prefer to project their dungeon maps on either an interactive surface or screen, but that can also be very expensive, as it would require a computer and either a projector or a rather large HDTV screen to replicate the gaming surface.

However you choose to play, I hope these tips are useful to you!  If you feel like I’ve missed anything, feel free to post a comment below!


Gaming History You Should Know – Death of Hellgate London May 28, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for yet another Gaming History You Should Know. Let me tell you about the PC single-player title with an integrated MMO component, Hellgate London.

Hellgate London was a game with so much promise. It was a technological marvel developed by a team of industry veterans. It had a massive marketing campaign with a lot of hype leading up to release.  It had market crossover potential with novels, comic books and figurines ready in time for launch.  However, the game suffered from bad management and was also fated to get released at the wrong time.

By the time the game reached shelves there were already a slew of potential Game of the Year contenders sitting on the shelf next to it. The fact that it was such a buggy game at launch didn’t help much either.  That’s such a shame because this game had a lot of promise and I don’t regret buying it about a month after it launched.

YouTube Channel nerdSlayer chronicles the rise and fall of MMOs in his series Death of a Game.  This guy does an in-depth amount of research on the games he covers, and his videos feature a peek into some of the behind the scenes drama that goes into managing such an expensive genre.  Here’s his video on the death of Hellgate London:

Video games that use an online component can be discontinued at any time, and while Hellgate London has continued to remain playable, tons of other games aren’t as lucky.  This should go on to become a cautionary tale for game developers everywhere.

Special thanks to nerdSlayer for letting me feature his videos this week. If you want to hear more about the rise and fall of other MMOs like Star Wars Galaxies or Tabula Rasa, you can check out his great videos here!

Student Bodies Board Game Review May 27, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Reviews, Site Videos.
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It has been raining non-stop for the past two months, why don’t we stay inside and enjoy a nice board game?  Well, Student Bodies is not just any normal board game, in this game you must survive a zombie outbreak in your high school!  Each player has been bitten, but there’s an antidote in the science lab. Only one student can find the cure and make it out of the school first! Who’s it going to be?

Let’s take a closer look at Student Bodies in our first ever board game review, enjoy!

If you liked the review, post a comment below, because we would be happy to review more board games in the future!  Thanks to Angry Duck Games for sending us a review copy!

Beam Streaming Service Renamed to Mixer May 25, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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A few months ago, Microsoft bet big on the live streaming service Beam.  Yesterday, they’ve announced that service has been renamed to Mixer, and now app updates across platforms are reflecting that change.

This is surprising news.  In the past few months, Beam had proven itself to be a decent platform for Xbox One streaming, so we have no idea why Microsoft would choose to rebrand it. We will keep you posted with everything Beam users will need to know to navigate this change, but for right now I recommend updating your personal device’s Beam apps to the new Mixer-branded versions.

Let’s Play Alan Wake Part 5 and 6 May 24, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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It’s been an exciting two weeks and we have made it to Alan Wake chapter 5.  After finally discovering the truth about what happened during his missing week, Alan and his manager Barry have been arrested.

What behind the scenes insight into the game does Maniac have to share?  Watch and find out!  All gameplay footage is provided with full video commentary.  Apologies in advance for the occasional audio drops.

If you’d like to watch us play the final chapter of Alan Wake live later today, subscribe to our Beam Channel!

Alan Wake is out now on Xbox 360 and PC.

Halo Wars 2 Sergeant Johnson DLC Released May 24, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Fan-favorite supporting character Sgt Johnson returns to Halo as a downloadable leader pack you can use in Blitz multiplayer. Want to know more?  Watch the trailer below!

If you have the Halo Wars 2 Season Pass or the Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition you can download the Sgt Johnson DLC for free.

Halo Wars 2 is out now for PC and Xbox One.

Let’s Play Alan Wake Part 4 May 23, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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Maniac is back playing one of his favorite games from last generation, Alan Wake on the Xbox 360. When we last left Alan, he was told everything he remembered was a lie, and he is in fact a patient at Dr. Hartman’s clinic. Is the Doctor telling the truth?  Watch as Maniac shares some behind the scenes insight and trivia for this chapter…and by popular request, talks about Spider-Man!

All gameplay footage provided with full video commentary!

Want to watch our streams as they happen?  Subscribe to our official Beam Channel!

Alan Wake is out now on PC and Xbox 360.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Rise and Fall of the Comic Empire May 21, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday, and you know what that means, it’s time for this week’s Gaming History You Should Know!  Since last week was Free Comic Book Day, I was reminded that the gaming industry owes a lot to comic books. For decades, the comic industry has told tales of superhumans living among us doing good, doing bad, and were otherwise relatable to regular people.  This made them a perfect medium for the video game industry to adapt, and over the past thirty years there have been numerous cases of comic book inspired video games with various degrees of critical and financial success.

I grew up in the 90s, referred to by many comic historians as the dark age of comics. I know that there have been many people over the years, myself included, who wondered what was going on behind the scenes at these companies, and why they told the now-notorious stories that they did.

Internet legend Chuck Sonnenburg, who is better known online as SF Debris, did an incredibly detailed history of the modern comic book industry.  The video is in fifteen parts (including its introduction and epilogue) so I’ve embedded his official YouTube playlist. You’ll have to set aside some time to watch this, but it’ll be totally worth your Sunday.  Enjoy!

If you’d like to see more videos by SF Debris, visit his website. It is now fully back up and running after recently upgrading his video player.  While he is mostly known for his weekly reviews of Star Trek episodes (with a new one out every Saturday) he also does great film, video game and television reviews.  He’s also chronicled the history behind the loss of 108 classic Doctor Who episodes, and the ongoing quest to recover them. Trust me, when you visit his site you’re going to find yourself unable to leave until you’ve watched every one of his videos!

iOS 10.3.2 Released May 19, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Just wanted to share a small news post before you start your Friday night. Apple has just released a minor security update for iOS 10 portable devices including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  The new update is called 10.3.2 and includes non-specific security fixes which should improve your device’s performance.

You can download the update over WiFi by selecting the Software Update option in the Settings app. If you don’t have WiFi access or enough internal storage on your device, you can always install the update through your PC or Mac with iTunes, just use the Apple USB charge cable.  Depending on the specific iOS 10 compatible device you’re upgrading and if you already installed the previous iOS update, iOS 10.3.2 should require a download around 170MB.

Irish Mike Made a Real-Life Gunblade May 18, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The Gunblade is the signature weapon of Final Fantasy VIII.  Wielded by characters like Squall Leonhart, the weapon is unlike any other.

One of my favorite shows on Discovery Channel was Big Giant Swords. The show featured a retired steelworker turned bladesmith named Irish Mike, who created enormous swords for enthusiastic clients.  The show may have ended production, but Mike is still creating his swords online and for the past two months he’s been working on replicating Final Fantasy VIII‘s Gunblade.

This has to be the best real-life Gunblade I’ve ever seen. The detail is incredible and its scale looks very accurate to the game. If you want to see more of Irish Mike’s work, visit his YouTube Channel!

Final Fantasy VIII is out now for PC and PS1.