Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

Archive for the ‘Games’

Session #14 – Daring Tale #7 – The Twelfth Gate

May 30, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Rashid Al-Aziz[Author's Note: This is the log for the 14th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Mike Callahan – Tough private-eye with a zest for life.
  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Cairo Calamity

After introducing Tesla to Doctor Whatley and explaining their recent escapades the group decides that the best course of action is to travel to Egypt so that they can speak with Doctor El-Mahdy. This is the man who sent Doctor Whatley a letter claiming that he had information about an evil organization who is likely the cause of the dimming rays of the sun. Upon checking into a hotel the heroes travel to Doctor El-Mahdy’s office at the Department Of Antiquities. When they are about to knock on the door it opens and a stunningly beautiful Egyptian woman leaves. As she passes by Tommy decides to follow her. Clyde leaves shortly afterwards trying to follow Tommy and the woman. The rest of the group enters the office to speak with Doctor El-Mahdy. To the surprise of the heroes Doctor El-Mahdy says he does not know what they are talking about and that he has not sent any letter to Doctor Whatley. When the group produces the letter and shows it to Doctor El-Mahdy he pauses then says that it must be a fake. During this time Mike notices that Doctor El-Mahdy is a bit glassy eyed and is having trouble maintaining focus. He whispers to Miles that he thinks Doctor El-Mahdy might be drugged. The Detective then attempts to circle around the Doctor but he pulls a knife! With that Mike jumps the Doctor! In seconds the Doctor is subdued. After getting grabbed Doctor El-Mahdy’s mouth starts to bubble and he utters his last breath, “Forgive me…my mind…they made me do things…Rashid Al-Aziz…find him…no…more…darkness…”

During this time Tommy follows the woman through the streets and alleys of Cairo. During the way he notices several men who are working with her to detect tails. These men are VERY professional. Tommy expertly dodges them until the woman enters a bar called the Cobras Nest. Going around back Tommy climbs up to the roof and tries to find a way into the building. While on the roof he notices Clyde watching the place from the front of the building. Climbing down he covertly alerts Clyde that he is being watched. He then returns to the roof and enters through an air vent. Once inside the Cobras Nest Tommy overhears the woman telling several men to find Rashid and kill him. The men leave the nightclub. At this point Tommy drops down behind the stage. Once down the woman passes by then stops when she see the open air vent. She calls out for whoever is hiding. Tommy comes out confidently. At this point she asks Tommy to join her in her changing room. She introduces herself as Nadine. Even though Tommy feels like his mind is being attacked he managed to resist her magical charms. He then enters her room. Nadine then orders Tommy to get her friends and bring them to a certain address at 10 PM. She promises to help Tommy. He pretends to be charmed and agrees. Tommy then asks for a kiss. When Nadine kisses him he steals some keys from her handbag. With that he leaves the Cobras Next and meets up with the rest of the heroes.

At Doctor El-Mahdy’s office there is a knock on the door and several armed guards appear. They ask the group what happened then check on the status of Doctor El-Mahdy. As one of them is checking the body Callahan notices a black cobra tattoo on his wrist. As the guard starts to circle around Mike springs into action. He cracks the jaw of one guard then moves to the next. Miles opens up with deadly lightning and Johnny blinds them with his chemicals. In seconds the fake guards are no longer a threat. After grabbing Doctor El-Mahdy’s notebook the heroes return to their friends for an update.

Wizened Rashid

Once all of their clues are gathered the members of Tesla’s Power Corp head off to see if they can protect Rashid. When they arrive at a shack that is his residence they find a group of men standing on a corner nearby. They appear to be conversing in hushed tones and are watching the place. They seem to be gathering their nerve. Thinking quickly Tommy circles around behind. Clyde sets a small fire in a trash can to attract their attention. This allows Tommy to drop into the shack unobserved. Once inside Tommy is met by the withered figure of Rashid Al-Aziz. Rashid is very clam and greets Tommy as if he expected him to visit. In calm but terse terms Rashid warms Tommy that forces of evil are at work and that he will soon be beset by them. Tommy explains that the thugs outside will be taken care of and asks him to explain. Rashid says that the men across the street are not a threat to him. He then informs Tommy that he must remember what he is about to tell him. Rashid them explains that each night Ra battles Apep so that the sun may rise. These battles are over twelve gates, one for each hour of night. Apep and Ra are fighting over the last gate and it appears that Apep will be victorious unless the heroes respond. He tells Tommy to seek out the Staff Of Ra. This is a mystical weapon that can be used against the forces of darkness. He tells Tommy that the female minion of Apep at the Cobra’s Nest has information that can lead them to the staff. As he closes the conversation he tells Tommy to leave. He them floats up in the air and turns towards the entrance to the shack! With that Tommy leaves out the front door. After leaving Rashid floats out the door. A black mist is surrounding him that appears like a dark snake. A voice emerges from Rashid that is not his own. The voice warns the heroes that any mortals who oppose him will have their souls taken and be tortured for all eternity! When he finishes speaking gaseous snakes appear and move to attack the group. The members of the Corp react quickly and violently. Miles tunes his lightning blast so that it is brighter then cuts loose. Johnny using his blinding gas but is grabbed by one of the snakes! Clyde acts quickly to remove the snake from Johnny. Mike wrestles with one of the snakes. After a brief tussle the snakes are dispatched.

Walking Into A Trap

The heroes next move is to show up at what they know to be a trap to confront Nadine. The address on the paper appears to be a small house. After knocking on the door the group is let into the building by a well armed cultist. Nadine is in the next room but calls to Tommy to come in. After they have entered the building Nadine emerges but she has the form of a half-snake woman. Her legs are a long scaled tail. Miles detects that she also has several spells running. After holding the ruse for a few moments the group jumps Nadine and her cultists. Miles blasts away at Nadine causing some damage. Mike lays into Nadine with a vicious punch to the jaw that sends her to the ground. The rest of the group takes out the remaining cultists without much ado. Using the key he stole from Nadine’s handbag Tommy opens a small metal coffer that she has in the house. Inside he finds a letter written to Nadine from a cultist who appears to be her superior. The letter informs Nadine of the location of the Staff Of Ra but goes on to inform her that it is not a concern as it is guarded by an order known as the Saou.

The Fires Of Ra

A short train ride followed by a day camel ride bring the members of the Corp to the location of the Staff Of Ra. As they travel down a crevasse they are stopped by men armed with rifles. Their leader speaks with Miles and the group. After gaining his trust their leader Mardek agrees to accompany the heroes and to aid them on their quest.

After gaining entrance to the temple the heroes find a room with wispy fire blocking the entrance. The fire seems to burn those that it deems “unworthy”. After the group passes they find a statue with strange hieroglyphics on it. Mardek translates the text. The group uses the information to retrieve the staff from the statues. Mike grabs the staff and feels that he is destined to hold it. He gets a vision of two obelisks at an oasis in the desert. Mike believes he can lead the group to this area using the staff. With that the group returns to the train to continue their quest.

Where is the fabled Staff Of Ra leading our heroes!?! What powerful forces of darkness will they be facing!?! When danger rings the members of Tesla’s Power Corp are ready to take the call!

Session #13 – Daring Tale #7 – The Twelfth Gate

April 25, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Vassar College Observatory[Author's Note: This is the log for the 13th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Dark Star

Valarie Braveheart knocks on the door to Johnny’s garage on a blustery overcast day. After gaining entrance the plucky young reporter explains that she has been contacted by this eccentric scientist named Doctor Whatley. This astronomer is claiming that the sun is going out! After researching this scientist Valerie uncovered that he has made strange claims in the past. Although it looks suspect the files that were delivered to her from Doctor Whatley appear to be very technical. She asks Johnny and Tommy if they would check it out.

With that Johnny and Tommy drive out the Vassar College Observatory to meet with Doctor Whatley. As they pull into a gated area that surrounds the building they observe a truck with a horse trailer. In a nearby field a man is working with a black horse with a white star on his forehead. After parking in front of the build the young brothers enter the main room where they are greeted by Doctor Whatley. At first the Doctor does not believe Johnny is smart enough to understand his calculations. After convincing the Doctor that is he knowledgeable the pair dive into the details. Tommy decides to check out the rest of the building.

After around 15 minutes two black vans pull into the parking lot. Out of the van a group of men wearing black robes emerge. Their large leader directs one of the men to cut the phone line to the building. After removing the line the men enter the building. Outside the man working with the horse, Clyde Beatty, jumps on Dark Star and rides up to investigate. Inside Johnny and Doctor Whatley observe the large man pull down his hood to reveal a half snake man. When he orders his men they observe that he has a boa constrictor for a left arm and a cobra for a right arm! As the men approach Johnny gasses them. Doctor Whatley hands Johnny a letter then grabs his notes and starts to run. Although most of the cultists in the black robes are choking from the gas their snake-armed leader rushes forward. With his left arm he constricts Johnny crushing his ribs. With his right he bites Doctor Whatley with the cobra arm! After observing that the men in black robes are armed Clyde rides into the room on Dark Star with his pistol and whip cracking! Luckily Miles drives up after having visited Nikola Tesla and determining that Johnny and Tommy might need his guidance. It is good for them as Miles starts cutting loose with his deadly lighting spells felling the thugs and eventually the large snake man. As the men start to fall Clyde rides after Doctor Whatley scooping him up on the horse for safety.

After tying up the men Johnny examines the letter. The letter is from an Egyptian archaeologist who believes that the darkening of the sun observed by Doctor Whatley is the work of an evil Egyptian deity known as Apep. According to legend Apep battles Ra each night in an effort to try and prevent him from riding his chariot of the sun to morning. He directs Doctor Whatley to collect a set of papyrus scrolls known as the Book Of Overthrowing Apep and return it to him. This book is supposedly on display at the NY Museum Of Natural History. With that the heroes head off to meet with the President of the museum and their close friend, Trubee Davison.

Museum Chase

When the members of Tesla’s Power Corp and their new friend Clyde arrive at the museum there is a large commotion. As they pull to the curb they hear the sound of breaking glass and see a thin man with a green snake head dart out of the building. Under his arm is a thick book filled with flat papyrus scrolls. It must be the Book Of Overthrowing Apep! With that the group jumps into action! Johnny gasses the cultists which allows Tommy to race by after the snake man. Clyde enters the fray taking out cultists with leather and lead! To the surprise of the group Miles teleports in front of the snake man then shoots lightning bolts that lay him out. While the party searches the thin snake man Tommy spots a dark van pulling away. He quickly hails a taxi and tells the cabby to follow that car! After searching the body Miles finds a very evil and powerful magic symbol on the man’s chest in the form of a scarab. Trubee meets the heroes and thanks them for their efforts. After Miles explains the importance of the scrolls Trubee offers help from the museum staff to translate them. The scrolls are actually several spells with light based effects.

Demon Snakes

Tommy carefully trails the black van to a warehouse near the airport. He first calls Johnny to let him know where he has gone then sneaks up to investigate. In the warehouse he spots several cultists. After a fairly extended conversation the cultists make a hasty phone call then start to load up the van. When the rest of the members of the Corp arrive they decide it is time to act. Clyde busts down the front door laying down whip and cover attacks. From vantage points behind Clyde, Miles and Johnny cut loose with their strange powers. After the first barrage the cultists in the van summon some large black demonic looking snakes! The snakes move in to attack. Not wanting the van to get away Tommy lobs a bottle of nitroglycerine on the back bumper shredding the entire back of the vehicle! With some effort from the heroes the demon snakes are destroyed and the cultists are captured. In the cultist’s bag the group finds tickets to Egypt.

The myriad talents of our vaunted team of adventurers will be put to the test when they travel to Eqypt in search of an ancient and powerful cult lead by a dark deity! We hope you will stay tuned for our next adventure to the land of sand and sun!

My Hero Kids And Their First RPG Session

April 10, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Games, Growlings, Product Reviews

Hero Kids Cover


I recently introduced my board game loving boys, Josh (11 years old) and Evan (9 years old), to role-playing games. It was a fantastic experience that I wanted to describe in my blog. First I will go through the preparation and setup that I did before the session. Next I will describe how the session ran and what I learned.

Preparation And Setup

The first preparation that I did was to decide which system that I wanted to use. Before I started my search I tried to define all of the characteristics that I wanted in the system. This list included ease of play, very simple math with at MOST single digit addition, and flexibility. The math requirement was important to me as Josh has lots of trouble with math and I was afraid that if I chose something too complicated he would not want to play at all. I then started looking online and purchased several possible options. The one that really jumped out at me was Hero Kids. Hero Kids has several great aspects that I thought would appeal to my boys. First there is VERY little math. For most actions instead of doing addition or subtraction you roll dice and take the highest number. REALLY simple. If you are better at something you roll more dice. I also thought that Hero Kids was very intuitive to pickup but still has a surprising amount of flexibility. I felt that I could EASILY modify the system to play superheroes, science fiction stars, cartoon characters, or anything my boys might want to play. When I asked the boys they decided that they wanted to play heroes like Zelda. That means epic high fantasy…easy. After picking the system and genre I made a simple Hero Kids shield insert that includes all of key rules. This way the rules would always be accessible to the players. Here is a link to the shield insert.

Next I considered who I wanted to invite to the first session. After having taught my cousin’s kids how to play I knew that it worked well having an experienced role-player in the session. Thus I invited my brother Don to play with us. His instructions were simple, “Lead by example and try to solve some of the conflicts WITHOUT combat.” After Don I decided to invite Sermin (aka Mommy). The reason for inviting Mommy to the first session was simple. She can read the boys better than anyone and help me determine if a break is needed, keep the boys in line, or alert me if the boys were getting bored or confused.

Now that the players and system were in place I went about picking a first adventure. Luckily Hero Kids supplies several adventures to choose from and I had purchased several of them. After reading the ones I owned I chose NOT to run the one that they recommend as the introductory adventure (aka Basement O Rats). Instead I used the Hero Kids adventure titled the Mines Of Martek. The reason is that Mines Of Martek has a simple mission goal, several puzzles that do not involve combat, and it starts off with VERY little role-playing. I know my boys so I knew that they would not understand role-playing at first but would definitely appreciate the thrill of combat. The puzzles in Mines Of Martek that I liked included rescuing a miner from a sinkhole, crossing a rickety bridge, and burning giant spider webs.

My son Josh who is mildly autistic handles new things better if he is given advanced notice of what to expect. Thus I decided to get some of the preliminary discussion out of the way the day before the session. Essentially I just started talking with them about what will happen and how RPGs work. When doing this talk I used Zelda as an example whenever possible. For example, I explained that the players play characters like Zelda on a mission that I am directing. I told them that I act kind of like the Nintendo. I then described that I like RPGs better than video games because you can have your character do whatever you want…there are no pesky video game boundaries. I then explained the setting again using Zelda as an example. I told them that their home town is a lot like Ordon Village in Twilight Princess. We also picked out the dice we would use for the session. This turned out to be a very fun exercise. :D Doing this session the day before not only got them excited about it but got much of the preliminary information out of the way. It worked great.

The Session

After setting up the battlemat and other accoutrements I presented a brief overview of the setting and the role of the characters. In this case the role of the characters is to solve problems while their adventurous parents are off fighting dragons. I then let the players select which characters they wanted to play. The selection did not surprise me that much at all. Josh took a knight. I knew it would be a warrior and one with armor and a shield is an added bonus. Evan took a healer with a light blast spell. I knew it would be a thinking man’s support character of some type. Don took a more flexible warrior and Sermin took a water mage to round out the group. After selecting the characters I quickly used the character sheet to review the system. I explained the attributes, equipment, and their special abilities. I next explained how you tell how many dice to roll and that you want to keep the highest number (i.e. the Hero Kids system).

Once that was done I handed out three poker chips to each player and explained how these would be used. Poker chips!?! :) I decided early on that one of the things that would frustrate my boys was the fickleness of the dice. It sucks when you really want to hit that big bad master villain or jump the ravine to save the Princess and roll badly. To combat that I added a bennie mechanic taken directly from Savage Worlds or FATE. If the player spends a poker chip they can reroll their dice and try for a better outcome.

Now that the rules were explained we started the adventure. I jumped right in with the local town sheriff asking the PC to help rescue two miners who are trapped. The mission statement is simple. With some brief leading by Don the group entered the mines and started to look around. In the first room they decided to fix a broken mine cart and get some gear. They got a kick out of pushing each other around in the mine cart between each room. The first major combat was with some bats. It went really well for the good guys. I rolled TERRIBLY the entire session! :) During this combat I also noticed another point about Hero Kids that I enjoyed. Hero Kids has group initiative only. Once it is the heroes turn to act the characters can go in any order. This is a subtle but nice touch as it lets different players jump forward if they know what they want their characters to do.

After the first combat Evan started getting a bit distracted by the mine cart and the stuff around the bats. I was VERY pleasantly surprised when Josh’s knight reminded Evan’s healer that they needed to find those miners. This was an awesome time when Josh’s laser focus paid off. :D

The next room featured a puzzle with a miner caught in a sinkhole. In the first room they had collected a rope. Even though it took some prompting by Don they eventually figures it out and saved the miner. It was a nice little problem to resolve.

One other scene deserves some attention in this blog post. In the third room the group comes across a dark hole where they can hear giant rats starting to emerge. Acting quickly Don’s characters pushes a rock over the hole preventing the rats from escaping. This is EXACTLY what I wanted him to do during the session (i.e. solve a conflict without combat). It showed Evan and Josh that the best way to solve problems is often with your brain not your sword.


Overall I know the session went really well. How do I know? After the session Evan asked about the village where the characters live and the underground river that they saw in the mine. He asked if they could investigate these next time. ;) The next weekend I ran a second session with just Evan and Josh. After the second session Evan started asking about making a potion to return their bennies during the game. Oh yeah and those glowing purple rocks in the basement tunnel…what were those? I also thought it was funny during the second session when he asked if I was making it all up. My response, “Of course! That is what makes role-playing games awesome!” Hook. Line. Sinker. :D

Session #12 – Daring Tale #6 – The Palladium Peril

April 07, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Central Cemetery Tomb[Author's Note: This is the log for the 12th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Mike Callahan – Tough private-eye with a zest for life.
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Watery Escape

After boasting about his master plan Sturmbahnfuhrer Heinrich Kempler informs the captive heroes that behind one wall are explosives and caverns full of water. When the explosives go off the group will drown in agonizing fashion. After a villainous laugh Kempler leaves the heroes to their fate. Quickly the group escapes from their bonds, opens the door, then rushes out of the room. As the they speed down the passageway the explosion goes off and the water quickly approaches! To slow down the water Johnny tells Miles where to place some mystic lightning bolts to bring down parts of the walls and ceiling behind them. This gives the members of Tesla’s Power Corp enough time to narrowly escape from the rushing water.

After emerging from the water filled chamber the group spots a piece of pottery that is very well preserved. Miles senses that it is magic and picks it up carefully. Written in Latin is a message that informs the group that the Palladium was moved to Constantinople in the 4th century. After sneaking out of the Coliseum the heroes charter a quick flight to Istanbul.

Stavros And The Turkish Baths

Upon arriving in Turkey Miles contacts one of his old business associates named Stavros Papadopoulos. Stavros is an ex-wrestler turned antique dealer whose only code of honor is cash. While having breakfast the group is met by a small Turk named Beni who appears to be an employee of Stavros. Beni informs the group that they are to meet Stavros at a local bath. Not trusting the little man Tommy quietly follows him. Tommy observes Beni meet several large looking Turks near one of the entrances to the covered bazaar. After this brief meeting he heads to the bath where he speaks with Stavros. When the meeting with Stavros is over Tommy observes Beni watch the front of the bath from a concealed location.

After their exotic breakfast has concluded the members of Tesla’s Power Corp head to the baths. There they are told to remove their clothing and grab a towel so that they can speak with Stavros. Mike and Miles take part but Tommy remains on watch outside and Johnny wait in the changing room inside. Stavros informs Miles and Mike that he has found some information about the Palladium based on the information provided by Miles. He believes that the Palladium was taken by Emperor Constantine to the city in the 4th century. This would also explain why the fabled Arab forces were never able to capture Constantinople. Stavros believes that the Palladium was taken from the royal treasury for safe keeping by Emperor Alexius III who rightly believed that Constantinople would fall to the Venetians. Alexius was entombed in Nicaea which is not too far from Istanbul.

After relaying this information the bath is beset by a hoard of Turkish assassins! Tommy sneaks inside to try and warn Miles and Mike but is hampered by the men. When the assassins burst into the bath Tommy throws brass knuckles to Mike then turns to face them. Miles cuts loose with lightning blasts while Mike rushes into the fray with fist flying. Stavros fells one man after several blows! Having prepared the purple Aztec powder Johnny unleashes it on the men to devastating effect! When the last man falls Johnny drags in Beni covered in glue. Stavros takes Beni and says that he will cleanup this sniveling rat. He then tells the heroes that he will have his brother Kristo drive them in his truck to Nicaea.

Half-Track Nitro Express

That afternoon the group packs their bags and jumps into the beat up stake-bed truck provided by Kristo. Johnny and Miles take the front seat with Kristo while Mike and Johnny sit in the back.

As they are approaching Nicaea a Nazi half-track pulls in behind them! The half-track is loaded with men and sports a machine gun! Quickly the group tries to target the driver. Miles confuses him while Johnny douses him with tear gas. Tommy quickly searches under a tarp in the back of the truck and finds a box of nitroglycerin! Using care he throws a bottle at the half-track sending it into a ditch in a heap of flame and debris!

To Trap Or Not To Trap

In Nicaea the group is driven to a sparse valley with the remains of a small ruin. After carefully searching Mike finds a slab that will move and lifts it out. Inside a set of stairs lead into the tomb. Carefully searching for traps Tommy leads the way. At the bottom of the stairs he finds slits where saw blades swing out in the bottom part of the stairway and the first part of the room. After determining that the trigger is not on the stairs Tommy investigates further. The room has two burial chambers and a skeleton dressed in armor in the middle of the room. The skeleton is lying face down facing towards the entrance to the room. After pocketing some things from the skeleton Tommy finds the trigger to the trap. It is near the locations of the skeleton. He must have triggered the trap and been cut down by the blades. After disabling the trap the rest of the PC descend and investigate the chamber. Miles finds a shelf that must have once contained the Palladium as it radiates with a powerful magic. Johnny takes down a sketch of a symbol on the skeleton’s armor then the group exits the chamber.

At the top of the chamber they are surprised to find Sturmbahnfuhrer Kempler and a squad of Nazi soldiers! Having cleverly prepared a fake box Johnny presents it to the Nazi commander. As he moves to open the wooden box the heroes of Tesla’s Power Corp attack. In a flurry of lightning bolts, gyro rockets, and fists the Nazi soldiers go down hard. When the tide of the battle turns Kempler attempts to make an escape but is stopped by our heroes. When the battle ends the PC tie up Kempler and deliver him to Stavros who says that anyone who threatens his friends and his brother Kristo will be dealt with harshly.

After handing over Kempler the group shows Stavros the symbol that they found in the tomb. Stavros, Miles, and Mike pour over ancient texts in Stavros’ collection until they find the symbol. It is a Viennese family crest from the Von Hansen family. The Von Hansen’s are famous architects in Vienna and have created many of their famous buildings and statues.

Vienna Tomb Robbing

In Vienna the group finds that the family is entombed at the Central Graveyard. The Central Graveyard is a vast cemetery that is the second largest in Europe. The Von Hansen tomb is a fine bit of architectural design. When the sun sets the heroes break into the tomb and carefully descend. Inside they search around and discover a hidden marble panel that slides down. The panel reveals a hidden chamber. Inside the chamber is a strange room with four colored stripes on the floor. At the end of the room is a glass case that holds the Palladium. Under the case is text that says, “The weight of the four reveals all.” After careful searching Tommy finds four pressure plates at the end of each stripe near the case. He locks one down then instructs Miles and Mike to stand on the other two plates. Once all of the plates are down the case opens. Miles carefully examines the Palladium then pockets it in his coat.

As Miles takes the statue Mike who is guarding the door sees a group of men approaching. After spotting the men Mike moves down the hallway and prepares to open fire with his Tommy Gun. He yells that Nazi’s are coming to the other members of Tesla’s Power Corp! When the others release the pressure plates a huge bolt of lightning lights up one of the stripes and heavy marble block descends from the ceiling trapping them in the room! The three heroes inside start to lift the stone with crowbars then use a wedge to keep it from sliding down. Just as Tommy, Miles, and Johnny are escaping the Nazi’s pour down the stairs! Mike cuts loose with a furry of lead cutting down the first two men. As the Nazi’s start to retreat they see the strange Nazi super soldier Agent X grab one of the men and run down the stairs using him as a shield! Mike opens fire but Agent X manages to reach the bottom and attempts to cut into him with a large knife. Mike manages to fend him off while the other heroes blast him with spells and high-tech weaponry. Eventually Agent X falls and the remaining Nazis flee.

With the Palladium safely in their possession the members of Tesla’s Power Corp return to Britain where the statuette is safely delivered to the British Secret Service. Who knows…with all of the political machinations of that Hitler fellow in Germany the Palladium may come in handy.

When stars align a sleeping evil awakens. Will the skills of Tesla’s Power Corp be enough to fight back this impending darkness?!? Listen up if you want to find out!!!

Review of Memoir 44 By Days Of Wonder

March 20, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Games, Product Reviews

Memoir 44 Base Set

-== What is it? ==-

Memoir 44 is a light wargame published by Days Of Wonder. The base set for Memoir 44 was released 10 years ago in 2004. It was created by game designer Richard Borg who gained fame for his Battle Cry line of wargames. Memoir 44 is a highly awarded game that has won accolades from several prestigious organizations. Here is a link to the Days Of Wonder site that lists the various awards.

The Memoir 44 base set comes with a full color instruction manual with sample scenarios, a dual-sided play board, terrain tiles, two sets of army figures (US and German), a set of cards, custom battle dice, and pair of card stands. In this review I will be discussing the base set and the entire Memoir 44 line in general. I have purchased all of the expansions for Memoir 44 and one of the map packs (aka Battle Maps). I have played the game with various expansions hundreds of times.

-== What I Like ==-

Memoir 44 is the perfect mix of simplicity and intuitive strategy. Once the basic rules are learned expansions can be used to tack on additional twists and modifications without breaking the basic mold. The base rules are so easy to grasp that even younger players have no trouble picking it up. I play most of Memoir 44 sessions against my 9 year old son. My 9 year old can probably beat most adults. ;) We recently finished a campaign that was comprised of several linked scenarios. In the last scenario he beat me 5 medals to 0 medals. :)

The expansions to Memoir 44 are quite numerous. There are several that add armies (Pacific Theater, Eastern Front, etc), some that add terrain, and others that add gear. The expansions perfectly build on the base rule set giving an enhanced feel of play without feeling overly complicated or cumbersome. My son and I think the Winter Wars expansion is our favorite. One thing that we love about this expansion is a second card deck geared for winter combats. This second deck really adds not only to the feel of combats but also neatly fit on top of existing battles. We really hope that Days Of Wonder does other add-on decks for Memoir 44. (As a point of reference there is an Urban deck in the Sword Of Stalingrad map pack which we also enjoy. ;) )

There are thousands of scenarios available for Memoir 44. Days Of Wonder produces several campaign books that are full of scenarios and hosts an online site where folks can upload their own scenarios. Days Of Wonder also has a free campaign editor that can be used to make your own scenarios. The output from the campaign editor is a scenario that looks nearly as professional as ones in the released products. The combination of the scenario editor and the online database of submitted scenarios is really fantastic. The database allows for fairly advanced searches so you can find scenarios where you own all of the required expansions and allows for other users to rate them. Memoir 44 is one heavily supported game line.

I often joke with people that I am teaching to play Memoir 44 that one of my favorite parts about the game is setting it up. You first lay down a base board then apply terrain tiles on top. Finally you place the troops. As the terrain and troops are placed on top of a simple board this means you have a ton of flexibility in the layout of the scenario. If you have the correct winter or desert tiles the effect is even more impressive. This game looks killer. :)

On top of all of this support Days Of Wonder also offers online play for free! You can download the Memoir 44 game and play other people online or play against the computer. It is tons of fun playing against the computer who can be quite tough on certain scenarios.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

Overall the quality of the components in the Memoir 44 base set is fair. The infantry and armor figures are evocative and stand fairly well. My only complaint with the infantry figures is in the coloring. In some lights the coloring of the German (dark blue) and US infantry (dark green) can be hard to distinguish…at least they are for me. My son says that he does not really have a problem with them. The US, German, and Japanese artillery figures are quite fragile. Several of our German artillery figures have lost wheels that have broken off during play. I hope Days Of Wonder uses the British and Russian artillery figures as a model if they come out with more artillery figures. They are on a solid base and built much sturdier. The boards themselves have also ripped after being used so many times. We now use binder clips to hold them together but it would be nice if they had some type of sturdier backing to prevent tearing. The card stands that come with the Memoir 44 base set are really a complete waste of time in my opinion. They are tiny and REALLY easy to knock over. My son and I used them only a few times then gave up as we often play on carpet. It is simple enough to just hold the cards in your hard or set them down.

In my opinion the artillery units in Memoir 44 seem a bit too powerful. I think they can really upset the play balance. Artillery have very long ranges, ignore terrain protection, do not require line of sight, AND are difficult to kill. I think I might have made them much easier to kill so that they are a bit more balanced with the other components in the game.

I can see where some hardcore wargamers will not like the randomness of the gameplay in Memoir 44. There is inherent randomness in card drawing and in rolling the outcome of attacks on the battle dice. I am particularly unlucky and have played games where I just can’t do any damage even when my troops are in a far superior situation. I think over the long haul of a campaign this evens out a bit more but it can be a detractor for some.

As I mentioned in the header I have nearly all of the Memoir 44 expansions. We are only missing three of the Battle Packs. There are a LOT of expansions. I would estimate my collection at roughly a $600 street cost. One problem is that one of the best expansions, the Air Pack, is no longer produced and it is VERY expensive to buy on the used game market. After sticking with it for over 6 months I was able to get a copy on eBay for roughly $95. (It has a $45 retail price.) Ouch. :( When I won it on eBay the boys and I watched the final minutes and cheered when we took the bid. :) The funny thing about the Air Pack is that one of my favorite parts about the set is the additional cards it includes and the manual. These additional cards include terrain cards from almost all of the expansions! This is really nice as for some reason most of the main army packs do not include cards for new terrain. The Air Pack manual is also wonderful as it repeats some of the existing scenarios but adds air support. This allows existing scenarios to be replayed with neat twists. Days Of Wonder should seriously consider releasing the Air Pack again or at least the offering the cards and manual for sale.

Memoir 44 is really a 2 player game. It can be played in what is called Overloard mode with 8 players but the heart of the game is mano-e-mano. At times I wish some of Evan’s friends could play along with us a bit easier.

-== Summary ==-

Memoir 44 is a massive hit with me and my 9 year old. Nearly every night after work he begs to play that next scenario in the campaign or to play one that he made on the computer. I am more than happy to oblige. This is one of my favorite games of all time and I would give it a 10 paws out of 10 if not for some issues with the components and the expense of some of the expansions.

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.

Copies of Memoir 44 are $46.99 at this URL on Amazon. Noble Knight has copies at this URL for $45. Memoir 44 is $47.99 at Funagain Games at this URL.

Memoir 44 Ready To Play