With an anniversary coming up but with it in the middle of the week on a kid-full night Lady Backsteel and I decided to take a little road trip this weekend down to Round Rock/Austin. For those of you not local I've included a handy map:
|For those of you in the northeast, yes, it is possible to drive for several hours and never cross state lines!|
Great Hall Games is one of the best:
They have a sizeable boardgame section and some RPG's but the awesome part is the miniatures selection - there aren't many stores anymore where you can walk in and find large areas of ancients, Napoleonics, civil war, and WW2 mini's present and on display in the store. This store has them, and has a playing area that is pretty big too, wrapping around behind the store next door. I've been looking at digging back into some ancients and I was overwhelmed. I'm going to have to get my lists together before I go back. We were there on a Sunday and there was at least one group setting up a fairly large fight.
Other note: On this same road within a mile or two are at least two used bookstores and a comic book shop. That's a very cool part of town.
Only a few miles away is Dragon's Lair:
This is a good-sized store that is about 1/3 comics, 1/3 RPG's, 1/3 boardgames and mini's and also has a darned big play area in the back. They have a fantastic RPG section as I saw print versions of games I thought only existed in PDF or haven't seen on a store shelf ever - from Fiasco to Labyrinth Lord! We were there mid-afternoon on a Sunday and in addition to an older crowd gathering in the back-of-the-store playing area that appeared to be talking RPG's the front of the store was full of a much younger crowd as a Pokemon tournament was in full swing and was a lot of fun to watch. There were also some people playing 40K and a comic book signing so it was a pretty busy place.
There are also a couple more used bookstores within a mile or two here as well.
Austinites are pretty lucky to have places like these. You'd think that with around four times the population DFW would have far more places like these (and we do have the used bookstore thing pretty well covered) but great game stores like these are rare up here too. I'm sure the presence of UT Austin has a lot to do with it but regardless of the reason it's a cool place and a good thing to have, and these are not the only two stores in town - there are quite a few more, plus dedicated comic book stores, record stores, and hobby shops as well. It's a cool town.
So between these two game stores and the bookstores (and there were more but these two were the coolest) I found a few things.
The Super Powers Companion is a very nice addition to Savage Worlds, one I've had my eye on for some time. I have Necessary Evil so it wasn't like I couldn't do SW supers already but NE is focussed on a particular campaign and so doesn't really cover the superhero kitchen sink that a traditional supers RPG does. This book fills that gap. I don't know that I really need another superhero RPG but I like Savage Worlds and we've actually been playing some supers over the last few months so I grabbed it. It slots in somewhere between ICONS and M&M in complexity so it's another "fast" game and having it gives me one more tool in the toolbox.
Weird War II is another one I've been watching but not getting for some time and I finally took the plunge. This is like peanut butter and chocolate to me - World War II is something I have spent a lot of time studying, playing, and writing about over the years, and then you basically mix in a bunch of D&D type stuff - it should be a blast to play and to run. I had the original d20 version from a decade or so ago and thought it was cool but never got to run a game and this is just better when it comes to the game part. I also have the Vietnam Weird Wars "Tour of Darkness" which was one of the early Savage Worlds campaign books and to this day it's the only Vietnam RPG I would consider running. So there's a lot of potential here and it's moving on the short list of "games to inflict on the Apprentices" and possible one -shots for the grown-ups on those off weekends.
Probably the biggest unexpected find of the trip was Undermountain II. The box is a little dished but the contents are pristine and it has some extra poster maps in it that I am pretty sure were not part of the original set. I've turned into a little bit of a completist on some things and now I plan on tracking down the rest of the Undermountain sets and seeing what I can do with it. I can see a Waterdeep/Undermountain campaign as a solid option for playing in the Realms even though I've never tried it and I'd like to have as much of the published material handy as possible to use as a base. No, I don't know what edition I would run (although most of the stuff is for 2nd) or even when I would do it - for now it's just long-term prep and satisfying my own interest in the thing. I know it has spurred some mixed emotions over the years but that's part of the challenge - running an epic campaign using less-than-epic material.
So there's the "Weekend Update" form here. It was a cool way to celebrate the anniversary, and a somewhat unexpected one but it touched on pretty much all of my interests, so I'm a happy guy.