Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Thing board game: AWESOME!!!

I was lucky enough to be invited to play the new "The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31" board game at a friend's Holiday party. I will say this is one outstanding game! If you are a fan of this movie, you need this game. It really, really captures the tone and feel of the movie and the creators did a hell of a job in my opinion.

The re-playability of this game is great because you never know who is or when someone else will become a "Thing"!

The board, cards and figures are all really cool and you can identify each member of the team easily. A very important part of the game is interpersonal dialogue between all the players as the rounds are played. Proclaim your humanity, admit how you can help accomplish the missions as they come up without revealing just exactly how helpful (or not) you can be.

Once you get a flamethrower you can force a blood test on another player and make them reveal to you if they are human or NOT! But only you and that player know the truth!!! Can you then convince the others he/she needs to be torched!!! Or are you lying and hoping to get rid of another human...

My wife fooled us all and was chosen as the person to lead the escape team at the end phase of the game only to reveal to the other four survivors on the Helicopter that we were doomed and humanity had lost, she was the Thing!!!!

Great fun, movie quotes and dialogue were slung back and forth all night, we listened to the movie soundtrack in the background. I cannot wait to get a copy of this for myself and play again.

The only drawback I see is that it states you can play with 4-8 players. However to get the maximum paranoid effect from this you need no less than 6, and for greatest effect 8 players like we had!

Super cool game, go find one now!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Far Trek crew update III: Main Crew background fluff

Crew as of Ep. 04
From Left to Right:
Communications Officer Lt. Cmdr. - F'Riid Dossa
Navigation/Helm Lt. JG - Maxine "max" Holt
Chief Science & 1st Officer Cmdr. - Triarius - Andorian
Captain - Cade Grim
Security Chief  Lt. Cmdr. - Leonard Maple
Chief medical Officer Lt. Cmdr. - Salec - Vulcan

The Player of our Captain decided he wanted to switch out the figure he used for one that wore the Green Tunic. He wanted to do this to show that his character was more military oriented and we decided that the green tunic relates to time spent in the Federation Marine Corp.

Following are some short Character Bio's about each of the main players in our Far Trek game. We scoured the internet for live action photos or screenshots from STO (Star Trek Online) that we thought would be cool images for the Characters. Big thanks to all the folks out there that do awesome stuff with photoshop etc.!

Meet the Cast of Characters from Far Trek USS ARGO.

Captain Cade Grim:

Cade is the youngest son of Star Fleet Admiral Jonathon Grim, and has recently just received his appointment as Captain of the ARGO.  His career in Starfleet began in earnest when after graduating the academy he followed a strict military path and joined the MACO's. After a recent engagement involving high-ranking Star Fleet officials Cade was promoted from First Lieutenant  to Captain and transferred to take over the Argo from retiring Captain Theodore "Ted" Withrow. There were some who opposed his appointment to the Argo because of what happened on his last mission with the MACO's, however Commodore Stone fought to get Cade arguing that a very 'different' style of commander was needed for the ARGO and her unique crew.

Some might consider Captain Grim a bit of a loose cannon compared to his brother Pryce who commands the USS Enterprise, the pride of the Federation. Though for all his levity, Cade can and will become quite serious when the time calls for it.

 Cade enjoys a good Prank, and also creating specialty drinks for the replicator. He and Lt. JG Holt are responsible for making the signature drink of the ARGO called the "Louisiana Coconut". When off duty the Captain can be found enjoying a good book or practicing his marksmanship on the phaser range.

If you see the Captain in the hall, watch out. You might be the target of his next prank.

1st Officer Triarius:

Triarius was assigned to the Argo a little over three months ago when Vesara Tess was transferred by Starfleet Command. Since the secondary mission of the Argo consists of surveying and cataloging recently discovered star systems Commodore Stone considered the Andorians expertise in Planetary Sciences would be a good match. This is his first posting on a multi-species ship and he is finding the experience very interesting so far.

He is logical and strong-minded as many Andorians are, viewing humans as a tad flighty and erratic. Among humans, he relates to engineers, scientists, and doctors the best; these professionals can keep the worst of their emotions and irrational thoughts under control and are usually intellectually engaging.

Triarius strives to be a logical scientist and make rational evidence-based decisions. This is usually the best approach, but not always. The truth is what it is (Triarius can be blunt).
Rather than give direct orders, Triarius prefers to gather data and make an informed decision based on that data. This includes relying on the professional expertise of other crew members.

If you see Triarius in the halls remember, a simple nod of acknowledgement will do.

Chief Medical Officer Salec:

Chief Medical Officer Salec is the son of Federation Ambassador Spock and was born on Earth while the family was stationed there. He joined Starfleet and graduated first in his class, specializing in the Sciences taking after his father. In his early years as a Lieutenant he was on a mission where most of the landing party was killed, and giving into his mother’s plea, Salec moved into the field of medicine, to alleviate her worries. She believes her son will be "safer" as a Doctor, though we know this is not always the case.

Salec has three siblings – Marina, his sister who is half Vulcan, half human; a brother Senar who is more human than Vulcan; and a second brother, Michael Sarek, also more human than Vulcan. Salec, like his father is also telepathic though he needs to be able to touch another in order to communicate in this method.

The Doctor takes his duties onboard the Argo very seriously, and runs a very efficient department.

Since the appointment of Cade Grim to the Captaincy of the Argo Salec has seen his regimented life turned upside down. There has been no end to the illogical chaos that has ensued. The Argo has always been a ship full of unique personalities, but under the prior captain they were kept more in check.

If you see Dr. Salec in the hall, then you probably haven't reported for your physical.

Chief of Security Leonard Maple:

Leonard Maple was born on Earth and abandoned at at early age. Being an orphan with no guidance, he decided to find purpose through serving humanity in the Federation. His guarded nature led him to the security field during his tenure as a Starfleet cadet.

Leonard excelled at every task set before him by his superiors and has a very distinguished record. His constant commendations and promotions allowed him to move from posting to posting, never staying longer than a year or two on any base or ship.  Maple was eventually transferred from his most recent position as security chief of the U.S.S. Yamato to the U.S.S. Argo, filling the recently vacated role left by the retiring chief Thompson. As a new member of the crew, he is still attempting to fit in and integrate with the Argo crew. One of his first orders on the Argo was the establishment of a tactical security team of ten elite members called “The Maple Leafs” to deal with threats both on and off the Argo. Maple has a quiet, reserved exterior that makes him difficult to read among his crew mates. This disposition also makes it so that the crew sometimes do not realize he is there until he makes his presence known. His many years in security have caused him to be skeptical of others and to see possible threats where others see none

On occasion Chief Maple has been known to crack a smile and show he is not humorless. The Chief himself is responsible for the "nickname" given to ensign Ted, showing there is a lighter side to the man.

If you see Chief Maple in the hall, ask him about hand-cooked meals he is quite a chef!

Helm/Navigation Lt. JG Maxine Holt:

Maxine Holt or "Max" was born on the colony world Pandora I. Her mother is the head Doctor for the colony and her Father oversees all manual labor duties, ranging from unloading transports and supply ships to building the actual colony settlements themselves. Needless to say she had to find ways to entertain herself for hours on end. Life on a frontier planet can become tedious and Maxine would spend hours with the site library computer reading just about anything. Her favorite subjects were flight and technical manuals for any type of star-faring ship.

When not reading Maxine would run wild with the few other children of the colony. They spent a great amount of time exploring their new world as children do. As she entered her teen years the young woman took short missions with her parents piloting the colony shuttle from settlement to settlement when they would go on their rounds. Maxine would also invariably interrogate visiting pilots from freighters & transports that would bring supplies to Pandora I, about thier ships and other planets.

After graduating Starfeet academy Maxine was posted to the USS Argo under Captain Withrow. She had recently been promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade when Cade Grim came aboard. She quickly impressed the new Captain with her piloting and navigation skills on thier first mission to Tannos V.

Max, really "gets" the new Captain's sense of humor and he recently appointed her as his personal shuttle pilot. She and the Captain also collaborated on the creation of the "Louisiana Coconut" a special drink served only on the Argo.

In her downtime you can find Max either brushing up on star-charts and flight manuals, or relaxing in the recreation room drawing sketches of her fellow shipmates. It is known that she is a frequent accomplice in some of the Captain's more elaborate pranks.

If you see Maxine in the halls say hello, and talk about the stars.

Chief Communications Officer F'Riid Dossa

The youngest of his generation from a clan of artists that is quite large by most other races' standards, but for Caitians is still small. F'Riid had no real talent for art. In the shadow of his siblings and cousins artistic achievements, he became involved in smuggling rare art objects to try and please his family. This led to a confrontation between the Federation and an Orion smuggling ring. F'Riid was implicated , but his talent for the orion language, and his efforts during said conflict to try and mitigate hostilities (that mostly went unheard) earned him leniancy at sentancing, use his skills in language for the Federation, or face the full smuggling charges.

 He's been disowned by his clan after the incident above, despite the second chance the Federation offered. F'Riid excelled at cryptography/communications & translations at the academy, and found his knack with picking up languages secured him a good position in Starfleet.

Though F'Riid climbed the ranks from ensign to Lt. Commander he has yet to earn any actual commendations, but also has no formal reprimands. It's been rumored that he often does shady things wherever he is stationed, though no charges have ever been filed.

He has yet to serve in a single posting for more than a few months before a transfer request was put in, either by himself or one of his commanders. He recently took over as Chief Communications Officer of the Argo after the transfer of Tsun Capri.

If you see F'riid in the hall say hello in your native tongue!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Far Trek crew update II: NPC Ensign Ted

Episode  04 introduced some interesting background characters to our current game. Most notably are Ensign Ted and Chief Maple's hand-picked specialist team "The Maple Leafs".

Let's learn a little about them and how they make the USS Argo a special place!

Security Ensign Christopher Ted
Ensign Ted

Ensign Ted is good at his job. He handles most of the mundane administrative duties for the Security Dept. and reports directly to Chief Maple. Everyone in Security gets along with Ted he's a genuinely nice guy and helpful too. Ted's one drawback is that he is curious, like curiosity killed the cat curious. He has been known to touch buttons on the bridge while on guard duty. He once launched a survey probe directly into a star, and there was that time he caused all the internal refuse tubes to flush internally on deck 9. Some of the crew remark that if you let Ted operate the food dispenser in the lounge you never know what will come out!

Since coming aboard, Chief Maple see's untapped potential in Ensign Ted. And that's why he got that promotion after Lt. Ka'luth was disintegrated by a Klingon.

Ted misses Ka'luth, he liked the gruff old Tellarite. But Ted knows the life of a Red Shirt is a life of danger. Ted is ready to meet danger head on, and test any buttons that need pressing!

If you see Ted in the halls, stop and say hi!

Ted likes hiking on alien planets for shore leave. It's okay to join him for that because there aren't any buttons around.

Far Trek Stats for Ensign Ted
Class: Red Shirt     Position: Security
ST 0  DX 0  IQ -1  CA +1

Skills: Administration +1, Athletics +1, Marksmanship +1, Unarmed Melee +1
Talents: Durable, Red Shirt**

**In the case of Ensign Ted, the RED SHIRT talent works slightly different. Instead of him being replaced Ted just shows back up in the next appropriate scene! "Ensign Ted, we thought you were dead!"
"Oh that, it hurt terribly but Dr. Salec says I'm okay now."
Should Ted get disintegrated or some other massively horrible thing happens then he's really dead, but that usually happens to the Red Shirt right next to Ted.