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Tracer Rounds: The Nostalgia of Mystara

A photographic journey through an adventurous youth ~

Brant Guillory, 10 July 2017

Most images enlarge when you click them

This started as a set of pics for a personal inventory of the RPG collection.  It turned into about half of the collection – this isn’t even all the TSR stuff! – but I wanted to at least get a some of the collection archived.  Once I had the pics, though, I figured it was time to bring back at least one random episode of Tracer Rounds, and share some pics and commentary on the Mystara collection.

As an aside, for folks who are really interested in Mystara, you should check out the Bruce Heard episode of the GrogCast, wherein we ask about his background with Mystara, and get a few good inside stories from the glory days of TSR.

Mystara, for those that don’t know, was the expansion of the game world that was first introduced in the X1 module that accompanied the expert-level set of the original no-prefix D&D, starting around 1981.  As the rules grew from basic to expert to companion and beyond, the rules series became known as the BECMI series.

How many of us started our adventures here?

The Southern Fried Game Expo Experience

Games aplenty in Atlanta ~

Avery Abernethy, 8 July 2017

The Southern Fried Game Expo (SFGE) is an annual Pinball, Arcade, Console and Board Game convention held annually in Atlanta Georgia. I attended the latest Expo the weekend before the start of Origins on June 9-11, 2017. This is an inexpensive, family friendly and fun event.

Arcade Row

Outpost Gamma – A GrogHeads AAR, part 0

The legionnaires are far from home, and facing impossible odds? ~

Michael Eckenfels, 5 July 2017

Outpost Gamma is a 1981 Dwarfstar Game title, designed by Howard Barasch, who did quite a few game titles back in the 1970s (as well as a 2010 title by the name of Cauldron: Battle for Gazala, by Decision Games).

From BGG’s main page on this game:

Outpost Gamma is a game of science fiction combat for two players. With its unpredictable storms and fast-playing combat system, Outpost Gamma captures the tension and rapid-fire action of high- versus low-technology combat in a hostile environment.

A print-and-play version of this game is available for free as an authorized download.

There is also a VASSAL module available.

I had this game back in middle school, and it was great fun. Essentially a Zulu Dawn, but IN SPAAACE, Outpost Gamma has two built-in scenarios pitting soldiers with advanced armor and weaponry, but very few numbers, versus a technologically challenged enemy that vastly outnumbers them.

 

 

Origins 2017 – Cthulhu

Our intrepid horror-gamer tackled a long weekend of Cthulhu-themed RPGs.  Did he escape with his sanity? ~

Avery Abernethy, 3 July 2017

H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and other horror stories were not very popular during his lifetime and he died a pauper. His heirs did not maintain the copyright to his works which made his stories and the world they inhabited common property for anyone who wished to use them. All of Lovecraft’s works can be obtained free in ebook format.
As Lovecraft’s works grew in popularity, many authors either wrote additional stories and books in this world or adapted his work into other series. Noteworthy examples are the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia, Princess of Wands by John Ringo and The Laundry Files series by Charles Strauss.

Because the work is in the common domain, there are a lot of Cthulhu games, game systems, supplements and books. Two different RPG systems are based on the Cthulhu mythos (Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu). Many other game systems incorporate elements of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu world including Chill, GURPS Horror, and Munchkin Cthulhu to name but a few. For people who like a little horror in their gaming, there are a lot of options out there and Lovecraft’s mythos is probably the most popular influence.

 

Origins – Raffle Winners

Who went home with their prizes from #Origins2017? ~

Brant Guillory, 27 June 2017

Photos by Corrinne Mahaffey

One of our highlights every year is the end-of-Origins raffle.  Everyone who plays in a ticketed event with us gets their names thrown in the cup for a raffle prize, to go along with the table prizes we’re giving out all convention long.  Some of those guys are in there 4 or 5 times, too!  Why?  Simple – we’re rewarding the wargamers who sit down and play a bunch of games with us!

More accurately, the vendors who donate their kind and generous support to our events are rewarding those gamers that are sitting down to game with us.

This year we had prizes for the raffle from Enterprise Games/GMT, DVG, Dust Tactics, Academy Games, Flying Pig Games, LNLP, and more, to go with a bunch of GrogHeads t-shirts.  We would’ve had more to give out from the great folks at LPS, High Flying Dice, Collins Epic, Lost Battalion, and Proving Ground, but our gamers had already snatched up those prizes earlier in the show!

This year we even experimented with live-tweeting the raffle, which went about as well as you’d expect it to, based on a last-minute decision.

So without further ado, our winners, and some scenes from the raffle itself.

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Origins Convention Report – Lock ‘n Load Publishing

Catching up with David & the crew at #Origins2017 ~

Michelle Owczarski, 26 June 2017

We’re still working our way through our Origins 2017 reports, even though we’re over a week past the show!

With a staggering release of 30 new or updated titles, Lock ‘n Load Publishing earns this reporter’s “Most Ambitious” prize for Origins 2017.

Due to shipping issues from the printer, David Heath said he had a limited number of each title air shipped to meet expectations for his booth. Even so, response has been strong with approximately 40% of convention stock sold on the first day.

Brand-new to Lock ‘n Load Publishing is the Lock ‘n Load Tactical Solo set,  a card-based tactical rules AI, called AEO, or Artificial Enemy Opponent, allowing a player to enjoy any of the Lock ‘n Load titles in solitaire mode.

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Origins – Costumes!

The costumes at #Origins2017 took on an extra bit of ‘oomph’ this year  ~

Corinne Mahaffey, 25 June 2017

In addition to our annual gallery of costumes, this year’s Origins also saw something special for the GrogKids, as two of them entered the kids’ competition in the costume contest – and placed 1st (Ian) and 3rd (Edward).

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More costumes within…

Origins – Thoughts from the GrogCrew

What did our guys bring home from #Origins2017?  What was the coolest thing they saw? ~

GrogHeads Staff, 22 June 2017

We asked our crew at the GrogHeads Central Command (AKA Fort Kickass) to chime in with the coolest thing they saw at Origins that wasn’t GrogHeads-related.  Most of them dropped us a line or so.  One of them expanded his thoughts.  And one of them wrote a bunch.

First, the loot, as photographed by some of our GrogHeads

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Bullet points!

  • Coolest non-Grogheads thing…discussing and/or playing three in-development wargames with the designers.
  • The coolest thing I saw was Rogue Cthulhu gaming group.  All of their events were very good and it was well organized.
  • Coolest thing I saw this trip was a 6′ x 3′ rubber backed carpet, that was the game board for Quartermaster General!


Some longer thoughts:

Ian won the kid’s section of the Costume contest with his Dwemer Armor (made by Ian, Corinne, plus additional help from grandma and grandpa.)  And Edward Owczarski took third place in the same event!  Yes!  😀