Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dragon Tiles / BAM #2

Dragon Tiles
I’m a very visual person. When I game I enjoy having a tabletop full of miniatures and props. Back in my early gaming days that meant a Chessex battle map and painted lead miniatures and whatever props we could scrounge up from toy bins and such. Now in the age the Internet it’s possible to obtain high quality props to dress up your gaming table for less than you would think.
One of the newest players in the paper miniature market is Fat Dragon Games. They have an impressive line of paper miniature sets for a variety of genres from classic fantasy, four-color superhero, and golden age pulp to science fiction. They offer both printed two dimensional tiles as well as full 3 dimensional paper models, and all of their individual products are priced under $15.00 (My personal cut-off point for ANY type of PDF product). Today I’m gonna write about their latest offering: Dragon Tiles. Dragon Tiles (Dungeon set 1 & 2) combine the best of both worlds, 2D tile sets with 3D props. There are currently two sets in the line and are priced at a very reasonable $7.99

I started by printing off a few sheets from set 1 and set 2. The pages printed up very nicely and had a rich color to them. I was very pleased with their appearance. I’m very much a novice at building paper models, but I knew enough to have the proper tools at hand (X-acto knives, cutting board, metal ruler, glue stick pen, etc.) so that if my results were less than satisfactory I couldn’t be blamed for lacking the proper tools. I decided to start with a bookcase and a small crate. The crate came out okay- I blame myself, lack of experience mostly; I should have started with a larger piece and then graduated to the smaller ones as I became more skillful at the process. The bookcase however came out wonderfully. I then assembled a table, a doorway and a few chairs, and all came out rather well.

Now be advised- paper modeling is not something to be rushed. It’s a Zen kinda thing. Play some nice music, have a beverage and relax, take your time and enjoy the creative process. You can’t rush this kind of thing and expect to get optimum results.

You can’t start to build a dungeon at 4:00pm and have it ready when the guys show up to play at 6:00pm. But if you follow the instructions, use the proper tools, and take your time- you will have very impressive results. I give the Dragon Tiles sets a hearty two thumbs up! You can get more information on their various product lines at Fat Dragon’s website or purchase them directly at RPGNow.

BAM #2
Basic Action Magazine (BAM) is a support publication for the Basic Action Super Heroes (BASH) RPG. BAM is a free download available at RPGNow. Now this is a good move for the publisher Basic Action Games (BAG- are you seeing a trend here?) it will hopefully drive some traffic to their game by folks who are leery to spend their money on systems they know nothing about. Not that BASH is gonna break your wallet. The basic game comes in at a nice price of just $5.00

There are two issues of BAM so far and they are filled with the standard fare found in most gaming magazines- NPCs, new skills and powers, etc. Issue #2 of BAM specifically covers new powers, new optional rules (including a point-buy system), combat options, an NPC spotlight, TWO mini adventures, and a preview of using the BASH Sci-Fi expansion for your favorite space-pulp campaign. Quite a healthy offering for a free Magazine. In fact, it might be too healthy. At 32 pages BAM is quite a bit to print up. I’ve seen complete PDF games that come in at a lower page count. My worry is that people will glance at it and then toss it in the PDF game folder with all the other freebies. I would keep the offerings shorter maybe 15 pages at the most. 15 pages can be printed at the office printer without causing any eyebrows to be raised, when you start printing out 20 or more pages people may notice and you may find yourself in the boss’s office explaining to him why your printing games during working hours. I would suggest taking the extra content and offering it up at the BAG website which is woefully in need of new content and a possible overhaul. Note to publisher: check out the Star Frontiers website for a look at a “WOW” support site.
But back to BAM, it’s worth the download. And the system gives you a lot of BANG for your buck. Like I said earlier, the core rules come in at $5.00 and the expansions go from there up to $15.00 (careful BAG, I’m not the only one out there that caps their PDF purchases at $15.00).

Both of these companies are creating quality products in an an industry that isn't especially known for having appreciative clientele (demanding and critical yes, appreciative- not so much), so when you download the magazines and the other freebies- utilize them, don't just toss them in a folder on your hard drive and forget about them. And if you find the free products to your liking, then pony up some cash and buy the real deal. And remember, these products easily go hand in hand. Run a game of BASH fantasy using Dragon Tiles props, your players will be impressed.