Review: Misspent Youth

Note: This review was also published on

Misspent Youth coverMisspent Youth is a game firmly anchored in the subgenre of story games. The players (the Young Offenders, or YO) and gamemaster (the Authority) work together to answer a series of questions about the setting and characters to create the setting, then play out episodes in which the Young Offenders fight off an oppressive, corrupt, or abusive Authority and generally stick it to The Man. What will they sacrifice for their ideals?

Disclaimer: I received free print and PDF copies of the book so I could playtest and review it.

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Playtest review: Danger Patrol!

Last night we tried the beta playtest version of Danger Patrol.  Created by Seattle game designer John  Harper, Danger Patrol is a quick-start role-playing game where players take the roles of pulp science-fiction heroes.  Character creation takes only a few minutes and play is quick and fairly simple, revolving around elements of danger added on-the-fly by the players and game master.  This is a great match for the Emerald City Gamefest Thursday Night Open Game sessions or a pick-up game among friends.


The game is still in beta testing so there is no lavish production.  It’s a neatly laid-out PDF document with a ’30s science-fiction look, but the only illustrations are icons, examples of use of dice, markers, etc., and a head shots of “Professor Bradbury” and “Danger Cadet Billy”, the narrators (or the Clippies) of the game, answering the questions expected from readers.

The writing is clear and kept short, and the information is well organized for quick reference.  There are many useful checklists and cheat sheets, such as the list of the “stuff you need” to play (what types of dice and how many, markers, tokens, etc.), the step-by-step character creation process, the scene sequence, the “GM jobs and threat move” page, the list of “heroic actions”, the rules summaries, etc.

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Game On!

Happy New Year and new decade, gamers!  It’s 2011 and once again I ask: Where the heck is my jetpack? my Moon Base? my time machine?  Until they materialize (ha-ha), I will have to continue gaming, I guess.

What did you play this past year?  What do you plan on playing in the coming one?  In 2010 my own game time and access were much reduced, but I got t try a few new system and continue with other games including:

  • Green Ronin’s Dragon Age
  • Pelgrane Press’ Skulduggery
  • Evil Hat Productions’ Dresden Files
  • Triple Ace Games’ Sundered Skies for Savage Worlds
  • Contested Ground Studio’s Hot War
  • Ronin Arts’ vs. Outlaws
  • Black Library’s Dark Heresy setting, in Pinnacle Entertainment Games’  Savage Worlds system
  • Moon Design’s Heroquest 2, in the Holistic Press’ Fading Suns setting

2011 started with a new episode of Dresden Files yesterday and it looks like more Savage Heresy, more Dragon Age, and a mini-series of Shadowrun 4 will cover the next few weeks, at least.

What about you?

VCON 34 – Oct 2-4, 2009

The following post is an announcement received from Jenni Merrifield at VCON in Vancouver, BC. The convention sounds like a lot of fun!


My name is Jenni Merrifield and I have recently taken over the role of Games Coordinator for VCON 34. I am sending out this message to gamers and gaming groups primarily in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest as a call to action – by promoting the VCON games room and filling you in on some of the incentives available for gamers in general and anyone interested in hosting game events during the convention I hope to encourage you and all your friends to come out to our event!

Quick Summary for the “TLDR” crowd

  • VCON is Western Canada’s longest running science fiction, fantasy and gaming fan convention, held in the Vancouver, BC, Canada metropolitan area every October. VCON 34 is Oct 2-4, 2009. Details at
  • VCON 34’s games room is open 24 hours and has scheduled game events, drop in games, and free-play tables available.
  • There is a reduced price pass for those who are primarily interested in gaming scene and do not intend to attend other scheduled programming.
  • More hosts are needed to run scheduled game events during core programming hours – any host who commits to at least 4 hours of game events is eligible for a discounted membership rate.
  • The VCON 34 Games Coordinator is looking to connect with individuals with almost any significant connection to the table top or video gaming industries who would be interested in attending the con as a programming guest and participating in game related programming.

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Funnies: Time-travel aids

Here a funny item that science-fiction geeks will appreciate: the Time Traveler Essentials poster, which you should tape inside your time-machine. According to publisher Topataco:

If you’re like us, you live in constant fear of slipping into a wormhole and getting spit out in the 13th century, and the only real useful knowledge you have for your ignorant ancestors is “watch out for that Hitler guy” and “some of the Popes are evil.” Now with this handy, sturdy tee-shirt and high-quality poster print you don’t have to live in fear any longer. Sure this means that some of those bums like Copernicus and the Wright brothers will end up having to get real jobs, but it’s gonna be your name in the history books, and that’s what what matters.

A companion guide for this shirt entitled I Am Not a Demon: How to Avoid Being Executed for Heresy is in the works.

Frankly, I would advise not departing for the 500 A.D . to 1600 A.D. period (2010 A.D. if going to certain parts of the U.S.A.) until this second time-traveler aid is available.

Star Trek PDQ#: Character Creation

Starfleet logoSometimes, I can be a little scatterbrained. I posted the game summaries for Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games, but I forgot to post the character creation rules. Anyhow, here they are.

The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

For the adventure, see the characters descriptions, and the summaries of Episode 1, Episode 2,and Episode 3.

The complete rules for the game system are here. For the purposes of Star Trek campaign, Swashbuckling Fortes should be replaced by Starship Fortes.

1. Choose a name, rank, and job on the ship.

You can really choose anything you want that you can justify as being on the ship. Here are some typical Navy-style ranks and jobs that you might find on a ship:

  • Captain, Commander, Lt Commander, Lieutenant, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), Ensign
  • Master Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer
  • Petty Officer (1st, 2nd & 3rd Class), Crewman, Crewman Recruit
  • Chief Engineer, Chief Science Officer, Waste Reclamation Specialist, Defense Contractor, Reporter, Ambassador, Foreign Exchange Officer, Stowaway, Security Personnel, Starfleet Marine, Spy, Assistant Cook’s Mate, Medical Officer.

2. Choose one or more Foibles.

A Foible is a failing or feature that presents opportunities for interesting failure. All Starfleet crew and Federation employees should take the foible Prime Directive. Some foible examples:

  • Pacifist
  • Likes the Green Chicks
  • Always helps those in need
  • Curious to a fault
  • Transporter psychosis

3. Chose a Motivation Forte.

A motivation Forte starts out at Good [+2] and serves as the primary reason you’re on the ship. These tend to be long term dreams and goals. Some example motivating Fortes:

  • Explore the Galaxy
  • Heal People
  • Learn about other lifeforms
  • Bring honor to my planet and its people

4. Chose a Past Forte.

A past forte starts at Good [+2] and explains how you came to be here, what made you the person you are today. Some example past fortes:

  • Science wunderkind
  • Hero of The Great Collapse of New Betelgeuse
  • Graduated with honors
  • Reformed master thief
  • Mister Fixit

5. Choose a Starship Forte.

This replaces the Swashbuckling Forte in the PDQ# rules. This should be your area of expertise on a starship. Examples:

  • Transporter Engineering
  • Tactical Operations
  • Command the troops
  • Phaser marksman

6. Add more fortes and/or increase your existing ones.

You have 4 additional Good [+2] ranks to create new fortes or bump up your existing ones as high as Master [+6].

7. Add up to 5 points of Techniques.

See pg. 6 of the PDQ# rules for a description of Techniques. Techniques chained to a Starfleet forte cost 1 point, chained to another forte cost 2 points, and unchained techniques cost 3 points.

8. Style Dice.

You get to start with 1 style die.

Game Recap: Star Trek – Episode 3

Starfleet logoThis is the third episode of Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games. The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

For background, see the characters descriptions, the summary of Episode 1, and the summary of Episode 2. Episode 3 closes this particular adventure.

Edit: Character creation rules are here.

Episode 3

Shuttle ibn Shukir* successfully docks with the Resolute. The captain goes to get some rest. Lt. Curry gets an advanced scan of the target area, locates a set of (unexpected) human life signs on the planet near Tarkan Laziene’s residence. Dr. Warden examines the Grays they brought back, finds signs of malnutrition and minor illnesses which she takes care of. Continue reading

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