End of Summer Recap!


Well Summer 2013 is fast coming to a close and holy crow, this year has already been so awesome and amazing. Many great trips were had, lovely games were played, and lots of love, heartbreak & dragons felt. Welcome back, now’s a good time to be here. Let’s see what the end of the year has in store, yes?

Speaking of the future, I can’t shake the feeling that next year this time will be most gloriously epic. Why? You might ask. Well it’s becoming pretty clear to me that the D&D:Next Project that WotC has been working on will be releasing sometime next year. My bet is on Gen-Con 2014 and to all of you who made it out to Indianapolis this year, I heard it was dope status. If, like me, you couldn’t make it this year do check out Mike Mearls’ short presentation (as presentations go) on the future of D&D. Pay close attention to his language in terms of the ‘expressions’ of D&D.

An interesting indicator can be seen in Mearls distinguishing the multiple products as being unified by the brand, instead of unified by the line of products themselves. With the Lords of Waterdeep game coming to iOS and the Sundering Facebook App, the future of D&D has an aura of dynamism.


Besides Waterdeep, another city of the Forgotten Realms gets some major love this year; Baldur’s Gate. Indeed, “The Gate” is being reinforced as one of the key locations in the Forgotten Realms and in ramping up for the switch to the next expression of D&D Table Top a particular focus has been placed on it. Not only has the old pair of video games been re-released, and I hear they’re wicked hard, this season of DnD Next Encounters finds itself squarely set in the sandbox of the expansive city. There are even tie-ins between the digital games from the 90s, this season of Encounters, and the overarching theme for the Forgotten Realms future, a world shaking event known as the Sundering. This event is getting it’s kickoff with R.A. Salvatore’s new book, The Companions… which sounds… weird. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Drizzt action, however if what I hear is true, the (spoiler alert!) reincarnations of the Companions make for some awkward questions.

That said, the next season of Encounters will be based around the Crystal Shard, so it’s not like we won’t be seeing new content in that saga worthy of the ancients. This season though has provided a challenge unlike any other. A player-character can truly go anywhere in the Sand Box Campaign that is Murder in Baldur’s Gate.

There are places, many of them I’d wager, that we cannot truly go to though and one is just finishing up.


Wow these guys are smart. I know, I know, it’s been said. Yes, I know, smart can mean many different things. So instead I’ll say, due to PAX East and the amazingly unique experience it has been AND in large part due to the eye-windows of the interwebs that capture and show so much of what happens, I’m pretty okay I’m not there. Though hey, being there to see my main man Chris Perkins throw down the next installment of Acq Inc’s saga would be out of sight.

Never despair though, for there will always be hope.


Thank the Gods for a down home North Carolina Con! The Escapist Expo will be putting on a show for the second year in a row and I’m confident the momentum from the inaugural year will spin this gamerific celebration to new heights. There will be expanded panels (I’m moderating one about DM advice), more space for table top gaming, and more open console gaming spots. Downtown Durham provided me with good times, easy to manage locations and yummy foods last time, so looking forward to that again! Trust that there will be more reporting on this. Hope to see you there!


So the game that’s been ruling my life (besides XCOM, of course) has been Pandemic. If you haven’t played this co-op board game from Z-Man games, I heartily recommend it. You are a team of experts racing against four deadly diseases that cover the world. Curing them is the goal, but time usually runs out. My partner and I have only been able to beat it about one out of four times playing. The base game can support up to four players, however with expansions I believe one can get up to six. It takes about forty five minutes to play. It’s 13+ but I’ve seen a sharp 8 year old figure it out.


Finally, what’s Summer without the flicks, amirite? For me, with not much in the way of finances, time, or enthusiasm for the product, making the journey to the cinema is a pretty big deal. Speaking of massive efforts, I was really impressed with Pacific Rim, so impressed that I was mad at first because I felt del Toro left so many great aspects of the world out! Seriously, I was super in to the world and I love that the entire stage was set up in less than ten minutes. I realized the initial disappointment that shaded my reaction to the film had overshadowed just how fun it was to see a robot fighting a monster for forty five minutes plus.

I also did catch This is the End with a buddy whilst on a trip to Chicago and while I found it firmly based in the male demographic, it seems that’s me as I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m glad they showed so many demon penises onscreen and it’s nuts to remember Franco and Rogan have been together since the Norseman days. So, good for them, ya know?

About Berling

Ken Breese (he) Writer, Narrative Designer, and Game Master for hire focused on Inclusion, Table Top RPGs, Nerd Culture, Critical Thinking, and the Politics of Gaming.

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