Sunday, 24 December 2017

A Year In Review

A year has already passed. I've tried to do one post every week this year, and while I had to occasionally miss a week here and there, I think I managed to write about a lot of different things this year. Most of it was advice no-one really asked for (hope someone out there found it useful), but I also had the luck to do my fair share of reviews this year. The interesting part about products is that despite liking them, and appreciating them, you sometimes just find yourself not using them after a while. Small, not very obvious things just add up, or you get bored when over time. For this reason I hope to look back at my reviews, and the products I used to highlight those that I feel deserve an end of year shout out. So, let's get into it.

Official Dungeons & Dragons

We had 3 books released this year: Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Tomb of Annihilation, and Tales from the Yawning Portal. They were generally solid. Xanathar's Guide to Everything being very much a supplement book. Tales from the Yawning Portal was for those of us who wanted to see some of the old D&D adventures, which of course made it less tempting if you owned the original unless you wanted an updated version. My favourite of the 3 was Tomb of Annihilation, but I've always been a sucker for adventures that also work as adventure supplements. They give me a lot of material to reuse or steal, a new adventure to run and also a large degree of control, unlike a new Player's Handbook, for example. I can control what comes my players come across, where supplements often are harder to reign in.

3D Printing

The end of the year saw me finally being able to 3D print. And at this point I've had the chance to 3D print a whole slew of tiles, and props. The ones that I've used the most so far are the Rampage System and Dragonlock. The ease of printing for Dragonlock made it a favourite of mine, and the modular nature of rampage also made me like them. I still haven't decided which way I'll go but I've been enjoying them both so far. In terms of props, the Black Scroll Games chests have been my by far most used 3D printed props this year. Even 2D printed maps are made better with props so it isn't much of a surprise to why I ended up using them so often. The ability to switch the inserts as needed was extremely useful during play and made them even more useful.

Modular Inn Tiles

I reviewed this set in December of 2016, but over 2017 I used it quite heavily. Before my foray into 3D printing, I used it whenever I needed an inn battle map. Since starting 3D printing, I still use the tiles extremely often. They are just so much easier to print and provide very good visuals. 3D printed tiles often need to be painted. The Modular Inn tiles can just be printed in colour. Nice and easy. As an aside, I'd recommend printing dungeon tiles using white filament to help reduce or eliminate the need for painting if they are meant to be stone. It'll look slightly worse than a properly painted one but will be more usable than pitch black ones like mine. I also don't have the 3D printable sets that allow you to print buildings, so instead ended up re-purposing tiles meant for underground dungeons. That works fine, but it doesn't have the same level of detail as the specialized tiles and takes far longer to set up than the 2D tiles. In comparison, I could print off some tiles, tape them together, and be ready to roll. I could also quickly just set them up on the table and not need to worry about laying out all the props. I did still use a few props, most commonly chests, but I didn't need to completely fill the room in when going to somewhere else for my session. They were instead highlights. When running sessions in my house and using 3D tiles, I could just set things up ahead of time at the time. No problem. Where it got more difficult is when adding new rooms that also needed plenty of props. Either I'd connect the empty room and needed to add the props, or I'd connect the room with the props which caused them to shift. These issues weren't present with the Modular Inn tiles and allowed many different configurations. They are my favourite of all the sets I reviewed from Black Scroll Games so far.

Next Year

We've got a whole new year ahead of us. We'll get some new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition stuff, of that I'm sure and I'm definitely curious. Black Scroll Games also had a successful kickstarter for Cities of the Black Scroll, which looks great. What's not to like about enough printable tiles to make yourself a bulletproof vest?

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