Fantasy Flight Games

Books Galore

It’s been a while since my last post; I’ve had a number of things going on (some of them all at once), so it’s been hard to keep up.  But in short:

FFG released their beta version of Legend of the Five Rings RPG on DriveThruRPG.

223045Apparently, they’re rebooting the franchise (and introducing a new dice mechanic), and the initial material looks good, although I’m curious as to where they’re going to go with it.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’m totally sold on the rebooting part, considering that I have the 4th edition core book and the Book of Fire, both of which I picked up on the cheap from a used bookshop about a year ago.  Other than perusing the pages, I hadn’t had much of a chance to actually use it – and given that this game and era are of interest to me alone, I probably never will.  Still, it kind of stinks that a newer version of the game is virtually on the stands before I can get any use out of the previous version.  No word yet on whether the existing support material will be applicable to this new work, but my gut tells me that they won’t.

At least I didn’t go whole-hog on the 4th edition as I’d originally intended.  Such is progress, I guess.

I did, however, finally manage to finish my collection of Thames & Hudson’sUnofficial Handbooks,” one of which might prove very useful to this pending RPG release.

Admittedly, this series has been out for a while – at least ten years – but that hasn’t affected their value.  These are great little books with a lot of information about their respective time periods.  Each is authored by an expert in that area, and they’re presented in such a fashion to be . . . well, handbooks.

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Each one addresses its topic at its height.  For example, Knight is written from the perspective of one fighting in the middle of the Hundred Years’ War; Legionary is set at the beginning of the Roman Empire; Gladiator is mid-Imperial Rome, while Samurai is roughly 17th century Japan, and Viking is mid-9th century Scandinavia.

Thames & Hudson also put out a series of “travel guides” for historic places like Rome (in the age of Constantine), Florence (at the height of the Renaissance), and Constantinople (at the height of the Ottoman Empire).  These are also older books, but they’re great for locations.  They give you an idea of prices, travel times, occupations, and people.  I’ve only managed to locate a couple in the series, but this gives me something to seek out, possibly this winter.

The O-scale railroad equipment I mentioned last time cleaned up pretty well.  I ended up repainting the engine’s shell, and that came out okay.  I haven’t run into many O-scale items since, but that’s fine, since it seems that what I’ve got is far longer (when assembled) than I’d anticipated.  Because of work and Real Life™, the whole Dust thing is on hold, anyway.  My new goal is to construct a universal table – maybe 4′ x 4′ where I could play not only Dust, but some of the other table-top games that have caught my eye.

Hopefully, I can start work on that this month.



Late to the Party

According to my mother, I’ll probably be late to my own funeral.

She told me this when I was a kid, mainly because I tended to be slow and meticulous with things that didn’t need that kind of attention.  She was right, mind you – I can be ridiculously slow (and slow-witted) at times, and only Goodness knows why.

I mention this because I’ve only recently developed an interest in Dust Tactics.

Go ahead and laugh.

On the off-chance that you’re not familiar with the game or the game-universe, Dust Tactics (and its various incarnations) depict a world where the Second World War follows a very different path than what happened.  After Hitler is assassinated in 1943, a disgruntled Wehrmacht sees an opportunity for Germany to achieve an honorable peace.  The Soviets, however, are left out of the loop, and due to a misunderstanding, they’ve now declared war on the remaining Allies.  Along the way, the Chinese and the Japanese get involved, Florida is invaded, and everyone involved has unleashed new armaments developed with newly discovered alien technology.


Sadly, I don’t own the core set, which is kind of a blessing – I’ll explain that later.  I had a chance, about two years ago, however, to snag a copy of it on a clearance table that was going for about $60; I thought it was too much for something that I knew nothing about, so I put it back on the shelf.  In fact, I remember the incident as if it were yesterday – “I’m going to check and if it’s legit, I’ll be back tomorrow.”

If that were only true.  “Tomorrow” never really comes, where I’m concerned.  I can’t begin to count the number of regrets I have because I’d talked myself into “coming back tomorrow.”  Too many to count, that’s for certain.  Anyway, I left that store and soon found other adventures in which to involve myself, quickly forgetting about the box that caught my eye.  In fact, it wasn’t until last September before I’d even given Dust a second thought.

Visiting another gaming store, I came across another clearance table.  Price-wise, this was nothing to write home about: Many of the “sale” items were only a few dollars down from list, so it was no wonder that the own had so much inventory still on his hands.  But I did see two of the Dust Tactics books on hand: The Core Rule Book and Operation Zverograd.  I remembered my earlier interest, and perhaps foolishly, convinced myself to research the game again, before investing any money.  There were several copies of each, and given the pricing, I was reasonably certain that none of them were going anywhere.  Worst that could happen, frankly, was that the shop could close its doors before I came back, thus time was of the essence.

Two days later, I was back.  I’d done some cursory research on Dust Tactics, and knew enough to say that it was something I’d definitely find interesting, giving its alternate historical timeline.  I grabbed those two books – by now, the materials were half-off, so if it proved to be a bust, I was only out of $30.  I could live with that.

But now I’d been bitten by the Dust Tactics bug.  Another visit (and twenty bucks) later, I had a couple of boxes of game figures.  Just before Black Friday, Fantasy Flight Games, which marketed the game, began a massive sale of Dust Tactics accessories, figures, and books.  This was cool from my perspective, because another $40 investment netted me nearly $150 worth of merchandise.  I was on my way!  That sale on Amazon?  Wow – two more add-on sets for $25!  A building set here, and Quonset huts there?  I’m on it!  I spent weeks reading what I could find, downloading various manuals, books, and add-ons; following Dust related blogs and websites . . . I was in full-blown addiction mode, and I hadn’t even played a game yet.

That store with the core set?  Of course, it was gone.  No one could get it for me, either.  When I did find a copy on Ebay, it was nearly $300, and that was used.  All while this was going on, I was curious as to why none of the local stores carried anything Dust related.  It never occurred to me to ask them about it.

When I finally approached a store manager about the game, he gave me the skinny.  Told me about how he’d refused to stock Dust after that “Kickstarter incident.”*  How he’d simply boxed up his armies and put them in his basement.  How his friends, who’d likewise supported the game, did the same.  How he felt there wasn’t a lot of interest left in the game because things had gotten too expensive and bizarre.

This is why I’m glad that I didn’t buy that core set.  Because while I’d have a few more figures and terrain tiles than I have now, I would have simply stared at that box and thought, “Sixty bucks, and for what?”  I had to know that I’d never get anyone else interested in zombies, werewolves, killer gorillas, and walking tanks.

Seriously – what was I thinking?

I could pursue it, he told me, but I’d just be wasting money.  I didn’t tell him that I’d already come to the same conclusion.  All said and done, I probably shelled out $150 on Dust Tactics.  Strangely, I don’t regret this – not one bit.  When I learned about Dust Adventures RPG, I reasoned that my investment could still pay off, just in a different way.  When DrivethruRPG put the volume and its add-on adventure on sale some months back, I went ahead and purchased it.

Do I feel bad about my time with Dust?  No, not really.  After all, a similar game – Konflikt 47, by Warlord Games – was released about a year ago, and since that game is a reworking of Bolt Action, I see some interesting possibilities ahead.


* I know little about that incident, so I’m only repeating what was said to me.