Wednesday 31 August 2011

Problems with AD&D

Now, I played a lot of Basic D&D in the 1980s and then went on to AD&D 2nd Edition. As much as I enjoyed Basic D&D I could never get my head around AD&D. My first opinion of it was that it was too complicated but that was to be expected, coming from Basic D&D as I did. I played it for about a year and during that time I slowly changed from simply disliking it to outright hating it. It just didn't work for me.

There were several reasons I didn't like it and quite a few things I couldn't quite put my finger on, but I recently found this website that lists a dude's problems with AD&D. He pretty much nails what I thought, and even though his crusade to make people discover other gaming systems seems pretty arrogant and some of his opinions are a matter of taste he makes some very good points, and reminds me why it was I stopped playing D&D for twenty years.

You can read the page here. It's an old collection of articles but I think they're still relevant.

I rediscovered D&D with 4th Edition in 2009 but didn't like that much, either, and I took a step back and bought the D&D 3.0 rules. Now, that was more like it. Even though there was still a lot of crap in there it was crap I could work with to get a decent game out of it. In fact, I've found an excellent website that converts the Birthright Campaign Setting to 3.x et al, and the documents are free to download. Birthright is my kind of setting and I'm seriously considering creating a campaign for it. In fact, if anyone out there has the old Birthright Conspectus and they don't want it anymore then let me know as I can give it a good home.

Right now I'm enjoying my mate Jason's Pathfinder campaign. I can watch him run it and, as it's pretty much 3.x in new clothes, I can observe how it plays and how he handles certain situations. I'm definitely interested in running a game but I know for a fact there'll have to be some trimming of the rules for me to fully enjoy it.


I'm not one to blow my own trumpet but a message a friend of mine left me has made me feel all warm and glowing inside. I'd been talking about the D6 Star Wars RPG and spoke about how those first few games taught me a lot. He left me this message:

'That's always been your biggest strength as a GM, as opposed to other gamers who only focussed on the rules and technical aspects of the game. You're always striving to finesse your GM skills and not get too stale, while always keeping the 'feel' of a Jon Hicks game. I think that's why your settings and game systems are so spot-on, you understand what makes a game work so well.
Yeah, thinking on it those first few months of SW RPG (I still have the map of the first game you did, the warehouse with the security guards) were pretty generic, but we were all so stoked to be playing SW RPG - who cared! It would have been easy not to analyse it, but you did, and what followed was far better!'

Cheers, Mark. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me.

Monday 29 August 2011

Gamers of the world - UNITE!

I'm a big fan of bringing gamers together, and I didn't realise this existed over at ENWORLD:

It's a way to find other gamers, stores and events for a variety of players.

Sunday 28 August 2011


But how can this be???

Well, I need to take Hard Sixes in new directions and the amount of competition on the internet, especially on Ebay, is so huge that even larger companies with lots of stock are finding things difficult, and they outshine little old me in the corner pleading for scraps.

So, I'm refocusing Hard Sixes and I'm going to concentrate on the convention circuit. Where I live is a nexus for gamers and we have to travel far for a gaming fix. I'm going to change all that.

Sunday 21 August 2011

HARD SIXES - making some changes!

The HARD SIXES Ebay store - we still have plenty of stock to sell off. We're moving from the world of retail into the world of conventions, so we want to get rid of this stuff to help fund our new ideas! Some good deals to be had, from very old collector's items to brand new material.

Tell your friends! Tell them to tell their friends! And tell them to tell their friends to tell, oh, you get the idea.

Sunday 14 August 2011

And now for a word from our sponsors...

I've been downloading lots of free RPG stuff recently and I've come across all kinds of wonderful stuff. Some of it is quickstart rules, some of it complete rules systems, some of it just fun stuff you can get some use out of, maybe even a campaign.

So, below are a few links where you can find some cool free downloads. (If the link doesn't work then apologies, but it's no doubt been changed since I posted this.

I've started this with Darkshire's list of links to free games in general - this is a fantastic list and there's some great games on here.

Then there's Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu Quickstart stuff.

Oh, and their Basic Roleplaying Quickstart.

Rob Lang's ICAR is always a winner.

AntiPaladin Games Minisix - a cutdown version of the D6 system - is excellent.

MicroLite20 is a great game for all you D&Ders out there who want things less complicated.

The Dragon Warriors Introductory game is always worth a look. (This link takes you straight to the PDF).

Savage Worlds is a good 'un.

A Song of Ice and Fire has a quickstart - and as I'm enjoying Game of Thrones right now, this is a good one.

An excellent Deathwatch Introductory Game from Fantasy Flight Games is here.

And I think I'll leave it at that for now. Some of these games you can get a half-decent campaign out of, but nothing quite takes the place of the full game, with all the options and opportunities it gives.

More FFG 'Star Wars' News

Thanks to my best buddy Mark Newbold over at - he's sent me some details about the upcoming Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars games, courtesy of and - no news as of yet on the RPG, mind.

Gencon: Fantasy Flight previews Star Wars games

Just in from Gencon - X-Wing and Star Wars the Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games

New From Gencon - Star Wars the Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games Picture Megapost!

Saturday 13 August 2011

The Warhammer 40K Movie

Let me explain to you why I feel let down by the WH40K movie 'Ultramarines'.

The WH40K universe is big. Like, utterly huge. It’s bigger than the car park at Asda/Walmart, that’s how big it is. It’s so big, it would take longer than ten minutes to walk across it. A lot longer. The history is huge. HUGE! 40,000 years worth of HUGE. It’s an intricate story spread across thousands of light years and encompassing billions of souls – THAT’S MORE SOULS THAN THE COMBINED NUMBER OF SUPPORTERS OF EVERY FOOTBALL TEAM IN THE LONDON AREA! Can you even get your head around that? Mine hurts just thinking about it.

But primarily, it’s rich in design, atmosphere and sheer batshit insane gonzo baddassery. The imagery is something to behold and some of the artwork over the years has been incredible. This cyber-gothic-grimdark-religious-psychotic-conspiracy feel it has, that every dark place in the universe is out to get you and that the threat can only be answered with explosive bullets. It’s insane.

So what do we get from ‘Ultramarines’? Some pretty standard CGI animation that looks like it belongs on a Saturday morning cartoon. I’m wondering if the guys behind Dan Dare simply had free weekends. I watched a story about some Space Marines getting into shit on a planet I didn’t care about, shooting other Space Marines who were bad. I’ve been told that if I didn’t like it, then I’m not a true WH40K fan and that this was made for the fans.

It really was made for the fans, because only the fans would buy it. This does not bode well for a full-on blow-my-balls-off Space Marines movie. It’s almost as if the guys who own the IP are afraid to show the greater world, like there’s some kind of continuity that nobody else gives a shit about that cannot be intruded upon. You want to impress me? Tell me a story that affects the whole WH40K universe. Like a huge crusade. Or the collapse of the Imperium. Or the God Emperor waking up. DO SOMETHING BALLSY. Because I don’t give a crap about a Space Marine chapter that nobody really likes, anyway. God, even Space Wolves might have held my attention better.

I understand what went into the movie, the talent, money and man-hours, but WH40K, that huge insane conglomeration of panic, fear and imagery, deserved so much more than this.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Fantasy Flight Games acquires Star Wars IP

Well, well, well - I have to say, they're a good choice for a publisher as they do some great games. No idea how they'll handle a roleplaying game, though. Will they do what they did with the WH40K games, going back to the original Warhammer game system, the percentile dice, but use the classic D6 system*? Will they create a whole new system? Or will they create a boardgame/RPG hybrid like they did with WFRP 3rd?

Full report here from my friends at Jedi News.

I guess we've got a wait on our hands.

*Here's hoping! But it's unrealistic.