Once upon a time there was a dungeon master who really loved the world-building aspect of the job. He would create intricate lore for all the NPCs. Every object had a complete history that the DM could rattle off from memory. The players would wince every time they entered a room, as the DM started rattling off what they saw.

"The stones on the north wall of the room are darker than the rest, implying that they were not gathered locally (since there is no nearby volcanic activity) but instead brought from the mountains. However they are cut in a style of the king's stonemason, so you suspect that they were brought here as part of the mason's expedition recorded 40 years ago, in which…"

The players all made low intelligence, low wisdom fighters in retaliation. Every perception check failed. When one player made a natural 20 on a history check, the rest abandoned her to refresh their snacks and maybe play a couple rounds of Street Fighter.

The DM, seeing his beautiful world being ignored, became cruel. His NPC villains were awful, but the DM would torture both PC and NPC alike. No one was safe. A PC is having a wedding? Kill everyone. A player finds an escape from the prison? Actually that was the villain's plan all along.

The players, fed up, leave the game. The DM still has stories to tell though, so he starts writing them down. Or at least that's how I like to think Game of Thrones got started…

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Carcassonne and Boss Builder

Last night was game night!

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First game was Carcassonne, a city builder. Jenny got this for me as a gift and I’ve been itching to try it out. The game is really quick to pick up and play, and moves quickly. I think I like this better than Catan. There was some deal-making at the table, and there’s something satisfying about building out a landscape. I think it scratches the same itch as jigsaw puzzles – order emerging from chaos.

One strategy that was identified early-on was that you could get 4 quick points by connecting 2 small city tiles (like the 2 cities just left of the big road loop in the pic above), which felt cheap. We checked the rules and it was legal, but it still bugged me. It turns out those cities used to be only worth 2 points, but the rules changed (maybe due the expansions?).

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Second game of the night was Boss Monster. The first thing I noticed were the pixel-art graphics on all the cards. Gorgeous! In this game you are the boss at the end of a dungeon, and you have to set your rooms up to beat the heroes. Each room has abilities.

This requires a little more strategy than Carcassonne, but I was lucky enough to get some cards that worked well together. We used an expansion deck to accommodate all 5 of us. It also went a little slower, but I think with fewer people it would be smoother.

Aside from the games, the highlight of the night was Tim’s Old Fashioneds, but that’s because he’s an amazing bartender.

MacBook Pro Gaming PC

This is kind of amazing: using the Thunderbolt connector on a MacBook Pro to connect 2 desktop gaming GPUs! An upgradable gaming PC at home and a portable MacBook Pro on the move, it’s the best of both worlds. Right now it’s very much a DIY not-ready-for-consumers thing but external GPUs are the future.

What a time to be alive.