GM Master Class Re-Cap

We would like to thank everyone who came out to our first ever GM Master class. We had approximately 45 attendees and five speakers. Presenters discussed free and affordable resources and apps for running D&D and other games, world building, how to handle various player actions, general table etiquette, being mindful of your audience and convention play.


As promised, here is a list of the resources we discussed at the event:

Orc Pub D&D Encounter Generator and SRD Resource site
DM Guild
FATE RPG
Dresden Files RPG
Running Public Events (Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Podcast)
Game Master 5 iPad App

Special Thanks to Our GM Masterclass Sponsors

We’d like to give a special thanks to Brian Engard, a designer for the FATE series of games, who shared his expert knowledge of the system and even donated a copy of FATE Accelerated for our giveaway.

Audience winners from our GM Masterclass workshop event holding dice, game manuals and other giveaway prizes.

We also want to thank our sponsors, Legend Comics and Game Science for providing modules, dice, and other GM materials for our giveaway. As always, thanks to our partners at Kaiju for providing space, chairs, etc. and also for donating some of their own t-shirts this time for our giveaway.

Every other Sunday, you can Slur Your Role with us at Kaiju. Every Monday we host GameKnights there, and Kaiju also has their own video games available everyday.

You can see photos from the GM event, including winners with the prizes in the gallery below.

Nerd Louisville 2016 Recap!

Hello fellow nerds!

We’ve had a busy year here at Nerd Louisville! First, we’ve been growing our community through the forum and social media from a few dozen to over 1200 nerds. Second, we’ve had twenty-one successful Slur Your Role events (SYR XXII starts at 4pm today!). Third, we threw our first ever gaming micro-convention–NerdLouvia. And finally, there’s the other side of our mission which is to enhance the lives of underprivileged local kids through programs like Little Nerds.

Little Nerds

In June we began the “Little Nerds” campaign to bring gaming to underprivileged children in Louisville. Our community was generous and quick about donating, and in just a few weeks we raised enough money to provide gaming books and supplies to children at Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Iroquois High School, and the Newburg Boys and Girls Club!

We are grateful to our community for their awesomeness and generosity in supporting Nerd Louisville and these youth enrichment programs. In 2017 we have several new initiatives aimed at expanding our nerd community and bringing gaming to more kids–check back for photos and details soon!

‘Tis the Season to Gift and Give Back!

Photo of Nerd Louisville branded items: shirt, stickers, dice, and buttons.

Need the perfect stocking-stuffer for your nerd? How about Nerd Louisville T-shirts, dice, lapel pins, or bumper stickers?

‘Tis the season to donate and get some nerd merch! Text 502-435-5647 and Nerd Santa will deliver to you the same day, anywhere in Louisville or nearby Southern Indiana. Donations help us to support nerdy at-risk kids and to make Louisville the most awesome nerd city in the universe!

*Minimum donation $5, or $15 with T-shirt.

 

The DIY Spirit Lives at Maker Faire Louisville, 2016

Hackers from Lvl1 Hackerspace with computers and inventions.

Rain threatened to wash out the Maker Faire Louisville last weekend, but the kids weren’t afraid. Families crowded the 600-900 blocks of Main Street in Louisville, KY to see all the mechanical and electrical projects by local organizations and high school programs. Garage tinkerers puttered around in homemade go-karts, while kids and teens got hands-on with everything from joy-stick controlled “Rockem Sockem” robots to radio-controlled robot soccer.

Beer from the Rhinegeist truck was available for adults, and local food trucks serving all manner of street food from Lobster Rolls to IceCream packed nearly an entire block. Food, fun and libations fueled a jubilant atmosphere filled with cheers, laughter, and the shouts of friendly competition. The spirit of invention and the excitement of discovery fuels the minds of makers, and the faire atmosphere felt charged.

Maker Faire Louisville is a community event put on by organizations who support making. The family-friendly event and it’s participants believe in invention, creation, and artistic expression. Everyone is encouraged to participate and get hands on from building to playing with mechanical, electrical, and computer projects. Makers run with their ideas using whatever resources are available. They utilize a DIY mentality to bring their ideas into the world–meaning that if they don’t know how to do something they’ll learn by experimentation.

But making isn’t solely about tinkering alone, organizations like Lvl1 Hackerspace provide shared resources. Lvl1 is a community workshop where people can share their knowledge and collaborate on projects using tools to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access. Resources at Lvl1 include: a woodshop with CNC mills; a metal shop with pipe bender, lathe and other tools; and main work shop with makerbots, a laser cutter, and hand tools. Other organizations have a more focused agenda, like First Build, whose “community of open engagement” focuses on creating the next generation of appliances.

Whatever you making interests are, Louisville has the resources to get you started. This event shows that the open maker community is intent on inspiring the next generation of little nerds, teaching them to hack, make and tinker along the way. Several local high schools were also representing their maker spirit and celebrating learning through hands-on experience.

As the Maker Faire Louisville Facebook says: “Don’t take your world for granted – invent something cool!”


Photo Gallery of Maker Faire Louisville Exhibits

Fandom Fest Comic-Con 2016 Edition

Fandomfest 2016

Story and photographs by Brandon Stettenbenz

We had a blast with Ken and Chris on the Nerd Louisville podcast last week, and they were nice enough to offer our fans a chance to win two passes to the biggest day of Fandomfest. Chris Blanford was our winner, and he took his young son to meet the 501st!

man and his son with professional Star Wars cosplayers the 501st Legion

See more photos of Fandomfest fans and cosplayers below and read on to hear all about our experiences at the con including the Stan Lee panel!

Cosplay, Star Wars, and the Batmobile

On Saturday we hit the exhibition floor to see the sites before queuing up for the Stan Lee panel, along with 99% of the crowd. From creative homemade costumes to detailed replicas by both fans and professionals like the 501st Legion, the halls were packed with cosplayers. Fan notables included a Warhammer 40K space marine version of Deadpool, X-Men group complete with spandex Cyclops, and the local ladies from Custom Wig Company as Games of Thrones’ most powerful ladies (plus a convincing Ned Stark).

Defending our city this weekend were Daredevil and Green Arrow. Other heroes included Master Chief, our own local Ghostbusters, and a new LMPD unit with Robocop. International fandom was represented as well with several wicked anime costumes including Alucard from “Hellsing” and two members of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army from “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign”.

The movie props at Fandom Fest were impressive this year. A full-scale Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon was a draw for the kiddos, while teens raced dads to get their picture taken in the Batmobile. The B-9 Robot from lost in space was highly detailed and fully scaled, but with no Will Robinson to protect he stayed inactive.

Star Wars was a big part of the day with tons of fan cosplay, including Rey and her Starfleet admiral escort pictured below, and several impressive movie props. Professional cosplayers the 501st Legion, also known as Vader’s Fist, were in full costume and brought a to-scale AT-ST and a full scale droideka. The 501st brought stormtroopers, imperial gunners, and even an unusually tall and stout Tusken Raider. The fans matched them in intensity with several Kylo Ren’s, custom Jedi costumes with unique lightsabers, and even a Darth Revan!

Stan Lee Q&A

After the excitement of his entrance faded, and a particularly angular green Hulk simmered down, Stan Lee answered questions from a long line of Fandomfest attendees. First off, he was asked what he thought about the state of the comicbook (he insists it is one word, two words referring to funny books) industry:

“The industry is great right now. They’ve got the best artists–they always had great artists–the best writers, the best producers. Everyone wants to be involved with comics now! Marvel comics…it goes without saying. The Marvel movies have been the biggest, the most lucrative–I’m an idiot! I got out of making comicbooks right before they got big!”

Stan “the Man” answered a kid’s question about a gorilla superhero with enthusiasm, exclaiming, “I hope DC wasn’t listening!” Throughout the Q&A, Stan was very gracious to all the fans, who had questions from capes, to female empowerment, and everything in between:

“It’s very financial, you see. No cape manufacturer has came up and offered ‘I’ll pay you this much for every hero that has a cape’.”

Stan Lee’s mind and humor were both sharp as he bantered with fans and quipped about the old rivalry between competitor DC Comics. Answering a fan, Stan discussed how he never got into the “tattoo thing”, and that he’s always surprised that people want his signature on their skin to be tattooed:

“If I was going to get a tattoo, I think I’d get something prettier than my name!”

The legendary Stan Lee was encouraging to an aspiring artist who asked him how to break into the industry. “Keep drawing until you’re sure you’re as good as the artists you see on the page–keep at it!” he said. Stan even answered fans about the MCU and his “favorite superhero”, although he warned them early on that he didn’t care to choose a favorite. But in the end he paused, smiled, and said “Spider-man”. Stan Signed off with the biggest “Excelsior!” he could muster, making all our fanboy dreams come true.

Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers”

This year’s much anticipated Kevin Smith panel was a family affair, with Kevin and his daughter Harley there to promote the movie he made starring her, Yoga Hosers. Kevin was gracious, talking about how amazed and humbled he was through the years that stars like Johnny Depp (who stars in “Yoga Hosers”) and the late Alan Rickman were willing to work with him.

Depp was apparently a big motivator to make the campy comedy, along with the urge to make a movie with female heroes to which young girls can relate. “I want to make a movie I could show my daughter,” Kevin quipped, noting that teenaged Harley hasn’t only seen Mallrats and the surreal horror “Tusk”, Kevin’s last film. Harley’s mom warned her early on:

“If you want to have a relationship with your dad, don’t watch the rest of his movies.”

Yoga Hosers, for all it’s slapstick, is a far cry from the Jay and Silent Bob led dick-and-fart comedy that pretty much defines Kevin Smith’s career. Kevin was proud of this new film, especially the connection between the co-stars Harley Smith and real-life friend Lily-Rose. The young ladies have been friends since kindergarten and the childhood photos in the movie are actual photos they took together over the years.

Apparently, Kevin Smith is not the kind of director who believes in talent. He said that anyone who wants to do something should go out and do it, “Do it enough, you’ll get better at it.” Inspiring words for everyone at Fandomfest, lifelong fans and the next generation of nerds alike.

The Walking Dead and local panels

Alexandra Breckenridge was the star of the Walking Dead panel. She addressed the crowd in a relaxed tone and talked about getting fit to play Jessie Anderson in hopes that they would write her as becoming leaner and stronger. Unfortunately for her, that didn’t happen. She mentioned being accustomed to having zombies around and the heat of Atlanta not being a big deal for her because by the time she was on set they had air conditioned trailers.

At the Destiny panel, a young girl and her brother competed in trivia for a game poster against other fans, and asked the moderators about the best sniper rifle to use besides Black Spindle. The discussion also included tips for finding people to raid with, tips for getting better and improving your loadout for Crucible, plus lots of in-depth lore discussion. All in all, it was nice to experience some genuine fandom between local players.


We couldn’t make all the Fandom Fest panels (of course), but we wanted to share as much as we could with OUR fellow fans at Nerd Louisville. Hopefully we can join all of you next year at Fandom Fest. The celebrities, local fan panels, and sights will surely be even better in 2017!

Date Night: Join the (Adventure) Party

Nerd Louisville Date Night

Join the (Adventure) Party!

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz, Photography by Mike Pfaff

My wife has way more tabletop role-playing game (RPG) experience than I do. She played Dungeons & Dragons 2.5 and 3, but refused to play 4.0. Don’t ask me what the nuances are because I still don’t know, and I’m man enough to admit it. Although I played Dungeons & Dragons on Commodore 64 (it was older than me) and various level-based RPG video-games over the years, I never had the opportunity to play a pen-and-paper D20 game.

So when Ariel bought me my own set of rad dice, I promised her we’d find an RPG group. It’s hard to find 2-4 other people, a good dungeon master, and 3+ hours to play an RPG that works for everyone’s schedule. That’s why Slur Your Role, one of our awesome Nerd Louisville events, is a great opportunity for couples that want to game together. After all, many games (including all tabletop RPGs) require more than two to do battle.

Slur Your Role Tabletop Gaming (2nd & 4th Sundays)

Less of a traditional date than a social opportunity for couples, Slur Your Role is bi-weekly tabletop RPG event at Kaiju in Germantown (adjacent to both the Highlands and Old Louisville). Kaiju is a laid back bar themed in the giant monsters of its namesake. There are big Godzilla toys, as well as giant robots decorating the bar and kaiju artworks throughout. The nerdy decor helps you feel right at home with dice in one hand and a pint in the other.

Ariel - Slur Your Role XI
Ariel Fischer dungeon master’s a game of Dungeons & Dragons at Slur Your Role XI.

Whether you want to fight dragons, survive the wasteland, or uncover the mysteries of the Elder Gods, Slur Your Role has you covered. Games are comfortable at 4-6 plus a game master and the three separate rooms keep it from feeling claustrophobic. Ariel and I have been in the D&D group thus far, playing a thief and a magic user respectively. We’ve survived catacombs and ogres, ghouls and monsters, with the help of fighters, paladins, and rogues. We’ve talked to (and robbed) wise, old men, and dodged the ire of a bandit mage. As I’m a n00b at D&D, I’d say it’s been tough but fair, and never boring. Converting all D&D games to 5th edition (with our recent Louisville “multiverse” initiative) gave adventurers more room to manipulate their fate with extended skills and experience potential. You can also use your characters in multiple games, even outside of Slur Your Role, instead of starting from scratch.

Sterling - Slur Your Role XI
Sterling Pratt game master’s a Mutant Future adventure at Slur Your Role XI.

Sunday afternoons aren’t a popular time for a date, but there’s less of a bar crowd than Friday or Saturday nights, and nearly all the other patrons are there to game. So while you won’t be flirting and chatting the entire time, you also aren’t yelling over the jukebox and typical singles crowd. You’re also showing off your creativity and passion, which is nerd for “sexy”. So grab your crush or partner and sign on for an adventure that will challenge your collective nerd skills. You’ll build romantic rapport with your date and maybe even make some new friends.

Andy - Slur Your Role XI
Andy Bates describes a map to his players during a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

All our welcome! The next Slur Your Role is this Sunday 7/10/2016. Adventuring is free, but the drinks aren’t. So bring your imagination, your date, and don’t forget to tip your bartender

Tips:

  • Don’t try to hook-up your characters—other players might not enjoy your romantic sub-plot.
  • You’re committing to several hours of interacting with other people—don’t flirt the whole time.
  • Stick to your character, even if that means acting against your real-life date. But keep in mind, if their character gets killed, they probably won’t want to stick around and spectate.
  • The Kentucky Taco Co. will be at Slur Your Role XII with food, so we got you covered for dinner.
  • Above all, have fun and share it. And, remember the golden rule of gaming & romance: keep the competition light-hearted.

Bagged and Bored Celebrates Comics and Clerks

Bagged and Bored cast and crew

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz

During Matt Gaither’s senior year at JCTC, after completing film course work with outdated technology, he wanted to shoot something for his own reel using a recently acquired Canon T2i DSLR. The film was titled Zach Cooper’s Epic Speed Run and Matt recruited his friends Craig Williams and Aaron Patterson for the project. Matt had met Craig through the retro video game tournaments Craig hosted at Half Price Books on Westport Rd. In the film, Zach Cooper is a peeved gamer looking to settle the score with his high school rival. Utilizing comedic timing, nerdy film tropes, banter, and 8-bit sound effects, Zach Cooper’s Epic Speed Run set the tone for Pixel Brain productions, Matt’s indie film company.

“I had all these stories boards laid out… the hook was maybe they’ll help me out if it’s for school,” Matt said. “But, I didn’t need to do this for [the program at JCTC]–I just wanted to make a short film. They ended up helping me out.”

The film stirred interest in the local nerd community, which led to new opportunities for Pixel Brain. Matt’s wife met Brian Barrow, owner of The Destination comic shop in St. Matthews. Brian told her he liked Zach Cooper and wanted to retail it at his store. Being a student project, Zach Cooper had a lot of unlicensed material so Matt declined Matt’s offer to sell DVDs. However, Matt took Brian’s other offer to shoot in the store seriously and that was the beginning of the “Bagged and Bored” concept.

In November of 2013, Matt met with Craig and Aaron to hash out his idea. Craig is primarily a writer, and as a stand-up comedian he knew a lot of other performers. Starting with The Destination as a basis, Matt and Craig worked out premise and character concepts. Then, they met with Craig’s comedian and actors friends to cast “Bagged and Bored”.

In May 2014, Matt and company filmed episode 0 at The Destination. The “short”, not considered canon to the series, stars actor Jake Reber behind the counter insulting customers about their purchases. The lack of script allowed the actors to take character outlines and run with them.

The first six episodes of “Bagged and Bored” are available on YouTube, although Matt is planning some kind of DVD and/or Blu-Ray release eventually. There are five main actors dedicated to the series. A mix of stand-up comedians and stage actors, the core cast includes:

  • Kent Carney as the store owner
  • Jake Reber as “Jake”, an annoying customer who aspires to clerk
  • April Singer as “Zooey Summers” the store’s resident manga expert
  • Sean Keller as “Adam Shanks” the geeky assistant store manager
  • Taylor Carden as “Veronica Bloom, romantic plot device”

Everyone that works on Bagged and Bored is a nerd. This creates a natural banter as they share quotes and references from their personal repertoire. Although each episode has a theme, the series overall relies on this nerdy interaction to carry the characters through each plot.

Episode 0 trusted Kent and Jake to be funny using the premise to jump off. The following episodes had full scripts, but according to Matt there’s still a lot of improv acting involved. Like Zach Cooper, “Bagged and Bored” leans heavily on nerdy references and banter. Matt said they aren’t aiming for everyone to get every reference, but they do want a casual viewer to get most of it. Adding references from recent, popular takes on comic book franchises like Nolan’s The Dark Knight in between deep cuts provides a sense of inclusion.

Banter and melodrama carry the show, and the characters thrive on dysfunctional relationships. Matt emphasized that the Jake and Kent characters on the show are exaggerated versions of the actors themselves, with “personalities turned up to an obnoxious 11 or 12.” Matt and Craig conceptualized and wrote out scenarios, but leaned on Jake and Kent’s interaction to kick it off. Other actors also shaped their own characters from day one:

“The Adam Shanks character was originally supposed to be a stoner but [the actor] showed up in a suit on the first day of shooting, ” Matt said. “He pitched this older guy who’s maybe there because he’s good at shipping and inventory, or whatever.”

Kent is the focus of the series, which opens with him preparing to respond to a condemning message from his ex, Josie. Kent is quick to anger and obviously upset, refusing to even hear her name. When Veronica shows up in episode 1 there’s obvious physical attraction, but Kent’s desperation to move on is also palpable. Kent hires Veronica on the spot, even though she doesn’t have any comic book knowledge.

As the show progresses, Kent’s comic and not-so-subtle pursuit of Veronica evolves as he attempts to lead her into his nerdy world. Unshakably positive and stereotypically clueless, Veronica tries and fails to grasp the culture that her boss and co-workers thrive on:

“For Kent, we didn’t want him to always be bitter and cynical—we wanted some way for the audience to like him [unlike Jake who is unapologetically obnoxious],” Matt said. “Being damaged and pursuing Veronica gives the audience a reason to possibly like him.”

Each episode of “Bagged and Bored” has a different vibe. Matt explained that they pulled elements from a variety of genre’s including horror, 90’s dystopian, anime, and others. By episode 2, new minor characters and locations show up fleshing out the lives of the other employee characters. Matt noted that although his retail-based comedy owes homage to Clerks, he didn’t want the store’s appeal to wear thin.

For Episode 4, “Pog Club”, Matt reached out to friends outside of the current cast and crew to find a new location and extras. While Matt was editing Zach Cooper someone asked him what the metal discs collecting dust on his “nerd shelf” were. While he regaled them with his nostalgia, Matt’s buddy laughed and proposed a short about pogs. The idea resurfaced as they were looking to expand “Bagged and Bored” outside of The Destination.

“We had a guy named Adam already, so we had him have a special [pog] slammer called the ‘Adam Bomb’,” Matt said. “We shot [the pog tournament] at the Mammoth Warehouse on the 3rd floor because of exposed brick and [stuff] we wanted in the background, and being May it was really hot. The party scene was shot at the Time Faulkner gallery. We were going for [The Foot’s lair] from TMNT—that 90’s culture vibe.”

Matt fulfills the roles of camera man, lighting, director, and editor. Because of the limited time they can film at The Destination, and the availability of his actors, Matt admitted that he has to rush production. Like many independent film makers, Matt doesn’t have the staff or resources to operate like a movie studio. That means there isn’t a slate for each shot and filming is dependent on the unpaid actor’s schedules.

“By the second episode we found it it was easier to work at night,” he said. “No one’s getting paid for this project, so we have to make compromises. I want to make sure everyone is having fun, but we’ve had some long nights. We have catering, but at three in the morning salsa doesn’t always sway.”

Episode 6, “Kuso Kombat” relies on sound effects. Kent’s nemesis, Johnny Masters of the Comic Book Dojo (played by Jeremy Sapp), uses karate sounds for a commercial where he pummels stunt actors dressed as Kent, Adam, and Zooey. Their rivalry leads to the challenge of “Kuso Kombat”, a card game that’s something like Street Fighter meets Yu-Gi-Oh. Using visual effects, a natural setting reminiscent of a traditional kung-fu film, and comedic wardrobe, Matt gives the audience a look inside the players heads as they play “Kuso Kombat.” Karate and energy sounds punctuate a fight training montage filmed in the forest near Red River Gorge National Geologic Area.

“We thought if an ego-maniac like Johnny Masters was to make a commercial, it’d glorify his [possibly credible] martial arts skills,” Matt said. “His inspiration are those old, campy, 70’s Kung Fu flicks. Overall, we didn’t want to slow down the series with more effects, but we had an opportunity to branch out.”

Bagged and Bored Ep7 based on The Death of Superman
Bagged and Bored Ep7 based on The Death of Superman

Matt and company are hosting a FREE screening of the finale at the Clifton Center on June 10th at 8pm, with live stand-up comedy and behind-the-scenes footage. Raanan Hershberg, a local comedian who had an album at the top of iTunes recently, is also featured in the finale. Matt plans to have his core cast return for Season 2, and the finale screening also marks the beginning of a crowd-funding campaign with the goal of paying talent and covering expenses next season.

Matt teased the finale, appropriately titled “Destination Unknown”:

“[For the finale] we’re going back to the Destination, focusing on the characters that people are coming back for. Kent, Adam, and Zooey’s stories are going to intertwined. Kent has a plan for a new beginning, but it could end up being the end of The Destination, and their friendships.”

 

Want to hear some actual comedy from the Bagged and Bored cast? Listen to our latest Nerd Louisville Podcast ep13: Probable Nudity!

Jeff Dehut & Pocket Dungeon Quest

eff points at PDQ at Powell's City of Books

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz

Jeff Dehut is a creative professional living in Louisville who has spent the last four years focusing on game development. His largest project to date has been “Pocket Dungeon Quest” (PDQ) and its first expansion “Don’t Go Alone”. He enjoys games because he believes they’re great for learning life and work skills including communication, social skills, team work, and healthy competition. Despite his success since moving here, Jeff is new to our local community:

“I haven’t been in Louisville for too awful long, so I am still relatively new to this particular scene. [But] gamers who I have met here in Louisville are always eager to talk about games and willing to include anyone who wants to play.”

It was Dehut’s love of games and their impact on people’s lives and friendships that drove him to make his tabletop concept a reality. Jeff had the idea to translate video game concepts to tabletop for a long time, and when he was let go from a job, he seized the opportunity. Beginning with paper and pencil sketches, Jeff translated his idea to a prototype that went through many iterations as the illustrated concepts from his brain became puzzle pieces of a then untitled game.

Pocket Dungeon Quest tiles
Early prototype designs for Pocket Dungeon Quest tiles.

Having just moved to Louisville before starting PDQ, Jeff didn’t have many connections in the local community, but he did meet some people at LVL1 Hackerspace who helped play test early versions of the game. After many revisions of both rules and art, the pieces of his concept eventually formed PDQ:

“I went through many prototypes using a printer, glue and foam core. Play tests included [myself], print & play copies sent to friends, and early prototype group plays. Feedback was collected and modifications were made until everything worked smoothly. The most important thing to me was to make sure Pocket Dungeon Quest was fun to play!”

When he was satisfied with the art and gameplay, Jeff made a final prototype using chipboard and mod podge, which he shipped to reviewers. Having seen the success that other independent tabletop developers had with Kickstarter, Jeff focused on that campaign first:

“Much of the community I interacted with was online. The greatest thing that I noticed about gamers and game developers in general is that everyone is very willing to help and wants to see you succeed. “

Jeff took to Kickstarter where he raised $27,000+ from 839 backers, the majority of which pledged enough to get the physical game. Others were able to download and print their own edition. Completed in 2015, the PDQ campaign met all its original stretch goals (above and beyond the core project), but did not reach an additional goal of $35,000 for development of a mobile app version. During the campaign, Jeff hit the convention circuit with his prototype to generate interest and get the word out about PDQ.

PDQ played on custom mat
PDQ played on custom mat (mat coming soon)

Since the first campaign was such a success, Jeff returned to Kickstarter for Don’t Go Alone, an expansion to PDQ. Don’t Go Alone recently finished its campaign with funds 200% over its original goal totaling $22,000+ and showing that there’s a substantial market for independent games. Now in production with Breaking Games, Jeff says Don’t Go Alone will be available to buy this Fall, 2016.

In addition to sending copies out to campaign pledgers, Jeff has distributed PDQ locally. Squire Greene at Book and Music Exchange in the Highlands said that he’s carried the game for about eight months, and it has sold moderately well. Jeff has plans to distribute both games on a broader scale in the future:

“I am so grateful for the small shops that took the chance to carry a couple copies of my game—[some] quickly found that they needed to come back for reorders. There are more [development and distribution] plans in the works, but those will remain a surprise for the time being!”

Don't Go Alone cover art
Don’t Go Alone cover art

Kickstarter has been a great platform for independent tabletop creators, sporting a healthy community of gamers willing to pledge money to make games. Other locals, including Wet Ink Games who we featured previously, have also succeeded in funding their games through Kickstarter. Jeff said that found great support and good feedback on Kickstarter, and he also learned a lot about marketing games during both campaigns. But he cautions that creators with big dreams should begin small:

“I have spoken with too many indie developers who believe they have created the next Magic: The Gathering. There is nothing wrong with aiming high, but at some point you have to bring your ideas back down to the real world. Games like Magic: The Gathering have had decades to improve, expand and perfect. Your first game will never be the next Magic. Start small, start simple. If that succeeds, then expand it. A good test is to hand your game with instructions to complete strangers. If they can figure it out without you guiding them, then you might be on to something!”

Jeff’s success while living in Louisville has made a positive impression on him. While we weren’t able to reach any local gamers who’ve played PDQ to get their impressions, speaking with Jeff about the game definitely piqued our interest. Although no community that I know of is ultimately large enough to fully support game making, Jeff’s journey with PDQ shows that having the support and feedback of local players is essential. In his words:

“I see the local gaming community embracing more indie games, and welcoming the new developers. I for one certainly appreciate that!”

Check out some additional concept art for Pocket Dungeon Quest and Don’t Go Alone in the gallery below:

All of the photos and graphics above are by Jeff Dehut. He has also published three video games games for iOS, Android and Steam–Draw a Stickman: Epic; Draw a Stickman: Epic 2; and Battlepillars. You can find more about PDQ and Jeff on his personal website.

Slur Your Role: Tabletop Adventure Fueled by Imagination & Alcohol

Original digital art by Steven Wu - Slur Your Role dragon

The town of Izuz is a hive of scum and villainy renowned for its dangerous storms and treacherous streets. In a murky tavern crawling with thieves and worse, seven strangers sit together warily sipping ale, waiting to hear about a perilous job. They leer with distaste at the squat wizard who has gathered them: “Polk will be here–he offers a pile of gold for this task. Just wait a little longer.”

Polk arrives wearing the guise of a beggar and tells them that he requires a painting held by the merchant lord Yondow. Growing angry, he refuses to reveal the nature of the cruel painting: “Very well, half up front, and I’ll show you what the painting can do IF you bring it to me.”

The manse of Yondow is a mysterious spire rumored to be built like a fortress with vicious creatures and a small army to match its imposing shadow. None of our crew have ever set foot in the spire or laid eyes on the wealthy lord. Using underworld contacts, they plan to infiltrate the compound disguised as suppliers of wild boar for the feast, a tasteful alternative to the slavers supplying bodies for dark ritual…

Adventure awaits at Slur Your Role VIII, May 8th

The above was excerpted from the Dungeons and Dragons “Eldritch Isles” game at our last event. If you haven’t made it to Kaiju for Slur Your Role, you’re missing fantastic opportunities. From Conan cleaving a grotesquely obese necromancer in twain with a thunder axe, to chimeras, gangsters, elder gods and red-shirts, our diverse tabletop games are a raucous adventure.

Read on for Slur Your Role VIII previews from our game masters!


Dungeons and Dragons 5e multi-verse: Eldritch Isles

After catching fire to the hedge maze, killing the medusa-lion, splitting Yondo in half, and making your daring escape with the enchanted painting, False Chanterelle, you slip into the smog-filled, rain-slicked alleyways of Izuz. The painting is returned to Polk, who awards you the fee he promised. You take your ill-gotten gains and spend it lavishly on revelry (level up!). And, perhaps resupply or upgrade your equipment with what is left. Word spreads far and wide of an axe-wielding barbarian and his thieving friends willing to invade a sacred Festival of Flame in a wealthy merchant’s manse and steal a valuable artifact…

Izuz - Eldritch IslesIt’s but a few nights later when Polk returns to the Onyx Lamprey and offers a few daring adventurers a chance to see the magic of False Chanterelle for themselves. Polk invites you to his tower and after dining on roasted eel and strong wine, he leads you up to the highest chamber in his tower. Rain blows in from the window and he pulls the black covering, exposing the painting. Moonlight streaks in and touches False Chanterelle and suddenly the chained woman in the painting animates and turns to you, pleading for help.

“When you touch this painting, you will be transported inside it. If my research proves correct, somewhere in that painting there is a way into the Maze of the Blue Medusa. Perhaps the woman knows. Enter and bring me any art, curios, or items of interest and I will reward you with gold and jewels.

You won’t have much time in the maze… When the moon ceases striking the painting, you will be expelled and returned here. If you die… And, some of you probably will… you will be forever stuck inside.”

When we play again, the (un)fortunate souls at my table will be entering the Maze of the Blue Medusa. Good luck!

– Mike Pfaff


Deadlands Noir RPG

Deadlands Noir (Savage World rules)

New Orleans, 1935. Whoever called this “the Big Easy” sure got that one wrong. Things are tough all over. Honest work is hard to find, and even dishonest jobs are getting scarce. The one thing that’s not in short supply is trouble. From shady thugs to crooked cops to Mafia soldiers, there’s plenty of characters out there looking to give an honest Joe a hard time.

And that’s not the worst of it. There are stories going round about things that go bump in the night. Things you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley on a darker night. And those stories aren’t just coming from rummies or saps who read that Epitaph rag.

Still, there are a few heroes left in the concrete jungle. Steely-eyed private dicks, fast-talking grifters, wild-eyed inventors, and shadowy hooligans still struggle against the encroaching darkness. With enough moxie—and more than a little luck—they might just be enough to turn the tide.

– James Sugrue


Star Trek + Cthulhu RPG

Star Trek / Cthulhu

Set Phasers for Ftagn!!

Dead Light is a Star Trek the old series mashup with the horror of the Cthulhu Mythos! Play Kirk, Spock, Bones or one of the other great Enterprise bridge crew as they investigate the mystery of deep space outpost 19. Some laughs, some drinking, some killing, and if we’re all lucky, Kirk will lose his shirt…AGAIN!!

Using classic call of cthulhu rules for ease of play.

-Matt McCloud


Achtung! Cthulhu RPG

Achtung! Cthulu

I’ll be running “Three Kings,” the first mission in the Achtung! Cthulhu series. You play Allied spies and commandos fighting Nazis and Cthulhu in World War II. If your character survives, you can play her or him again in future missions. I ran this mission at ConGlomeration and it might have been the best one-shot adventure I’ve ever GMd. Written by Sarah Newton for Modiphius Games, converted to 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu. Achtung! Cthulhu link: http://www.modiphius.com/achtung-cthulhu.html.

-Andy B

 


 

Slur Your Role is open to anyone over 21. The event is free and walk-ins are welcome. Also, imbibing alcohol isn’t required, but please tip the bartender no matter what you order.

We highly encourage showing up right at 4 pm to secure your spot in the tabletop game of your preference. Check in at the front of the bar where we’ll be managing signups. RSVP on Facebook and join the conversation!

RecBar Opens this Friday, Apr. 15th

RecBar

RecBar Opens this Friday, Apr. 15th

Written by Brandon Stettenbenz

RecBar, a new restaurant / barcade, will open its doors to the public this Friday at 9 p.m. One side of RecBar is just an arcade, including stand up cabinets and table games, like foosball, skeeball, and even the racer game Cruisin’ with seats and steering wheel. When everything is up and running, co-owners Corey Sims and Tony Thomas expect to have more than 40 games, including 35 stand up arcades, six pinball machines, and table games. The other side is a large dining room that opens up via a garage-style door to a covered deck area.

Ample space is one of the reasons these J-Town residents chose to open their concept in their neighborhood.

“It’s our own backyard so we know the families here, and the area is untapped for something like this,” Corey said. “Third Turn Brewery just opened and they’ve been doing well, so that was encouraging to us.”

Corey emphasized that RecBar is not a typical barcade, but a restaurant+barcade combination concept influenced by his and Tony’s experience in the food service industry. The idea for RecBar stemmed from their foray into game vending with one Golden Tee machine at Fourth Street Live.

“Tony and I purchased [the Golden Tee game] back in 2009 just as a way to earn extra income,” Corey said. “And we saw how well it was doing and how much people gathered around it, how they enjoyed socializing in a bar atmosphere with the game tied [to that experience].”

The success of their single stand-up cabinet gave them the bug. They started collecting retro cabinets, then began seeing barcade concepts spring up in NYC and Chicago. It took them four years to do research, build their game collection, and find the right location. Several restaurants have been in the building in the past 12 years, most recently The Blue Mule and then Bacon Bar. Finding a place with restaurant bones that could be re-used, getting the games together, and financing influenced their timing. Though, they felt that Louisville had been ready for their concept for a while.

“The shell of the building we used and built off of, aiming for a sort of industrial feel; you can see the reclaimed wood behind the bar,” Corey said. “I’ve seen a lot of 80’s vibe [in barcades], but we wanted to strip that down to blend with the restaurant concept. RecBar is not just a game bar. We see easy to eat and shareable items as part of the group experience just like games.”

Both owners also have kids under five, and Corey stressed that RecBar will cater to families welcoming all ages until 10 p.m.

“[Our kids] think it’s fun and they want to play the games even though they’re not familiar with it,” he said. “We expect a lot of local families.”

On weekends they plan to stay open as late as the crowd demands, possibly up to the local 4 a.m. cutoff. They’re feeling it out right now and estimate closing sometime between midnight to 2 a.m. on weekdays to start. Corey said there’s a lot of Hurstbourne corridor service industry crowd, so they’ll stay open later if they can attract that crowd. 

RecBar

RecBar will also cater to the sports crowd, particularly UofL and UK fans, but Corey stressed that the sound will only be on for big games. In the back, there will be a lounge with classic consoles from Nintendo (NES) to N64, and they’re considering competition nights for games like Smash Brothers and Mario Kart. Corey said that Mario 3 is probably his favorite classic console game. When I asked, he was hard pressed to pick just one favorite game on the floor: 

“We just traded for a pinball at arcade expo, it’s called Teed Off,” he said. “It’s sort of a Caddy Shack knock off. They didn’t get the rights so they had to sort of fake it. There’s a gopher up top. As far as cabinets, this cocktail table called Warlords. You defend your territory in the four corners [4 players] from a dragon’s fireball, pong style.”

That kind of game and the 4-6 player arcade beat-em-up games like Ninja Turtles, Simpsons, and X-men are what they built the RecBar concept around; a shared entertainment experience. Focusing more on the big 90’s Capcom and Konami arcade cabinets also sets them apart from the retro concept of the other barcades in Louisville. From families to groups of friends enjoying a late night, Corey and crew want people to come together around the games. Ultimately, RecBar is about enjoying yourself and being social.

Find out more about RecBar at their website or on Facebook. Also, Nerd Louisville thrives on donations to bring you this content. Please consider donating to our cause using the button below.

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