Loot Addendum

Following up from yesterday’s post on Loot, proprietor Ed Healy has set up a coupon code for readers of Held Action. From now until April 30th, plug AAB211 into the coupon code field when buying something from Loot to take 10% off the price.

That code is good for any and all purchases from now until April 30th, so make hay while the sun shines.


Daily deal sites have become more than a bit of a thing lately. Woot! is probably the best-known of them, selling just one item per day until their supplies run out or the day is over. I particularly like the one-off T-shirt sites, if only for the variety of designs that go through their RSS feeds.

Boardgamegeek visitors are probably already familiar with Tanga, which often has board games and other geeky products at pretty good clear-out prices. Now Ed Healy has opened up Loot, a daily deal storefront focusing exclusively on games, and maybe an emphasis on role-playing games, which I appreciate. In the last week or two, Loot has offered a Dying Earth three pack and a bundle of Dungeon Crawl Classics from Goodman Games, among other things.

Being a frugal gamer, I’m always on the look-out for a deal. Daily deal sites usually have some random stuff, but it never hurts to drop their feed in your reader of choice. It takes a second to skim past. Some day, you’ll see something there you’ll find useful.

April 7th, 2011 Update: Proprietor Ed Healy has set up a coupon code for readers of Held Action. From now until April 30th, plug AAB211 into the coupon code field when buying something from Loot to take 10% off the price.

That code is good for any and all purchases from now until April 30th, so make hay while the sun shines.

The Acquisition Imperative

Periodically, I get a yen to buy a board game or role-playing game. It’s a strong enough yen that I’ll fixate on it for some time. A couple years ago, for reasons I still can’t fathom, it was a general impulse to buy HERO System books. I gave in to that one and wound up with two or three feet of shelf space given over to books pushing a system I wasn’t entirely sold on. I think I’ve run precisely one session of role-playing using HERO, the sole session of an ersatz Spelljammer campaign I called Known Spheres. That game actually died for scheduling reasons rather than a dislike for HERO, just for the record.

Anyway, I get on these “want it all” or “I want that so much” kicks. For the most part, I keep on top of them, mostly by waiting myself out. Sometimes I will actually get to try the game without buying, usually discovering it’s not something I want. And there are the times I make mistakes.

Lately, the game I’ve fixed on is Talisman, the old fantasy adventure offering from Games Workshop. I will admit that Talisman is not a good game by any means. You roll a die, move your character and, most often, draw at least one card. Even the direction you move along the board doesn’t always matter, as you’ll draw the same card regardless of whether you go right or left. Nevertheless, I do find the game entertaining. The art evokes a simple, parochial sort of fantasy world that’s miles closer to how I envisioned The Hobbit on first reading than the design of Middle-earth in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films or the dungeonpunk aesthete that’s percolated through role-playing games since the launch of Dungeons & Dragons‘ third edition.

Right now, I get to play Talisman once every couple of months whenever Nonny happens to bring it to Tuesday night at Quarterstaff Games, which is probably just enough to keep me from getting tired of the game. But I do find myself thinking “I could easily pick up Fantasy Flight’s new edition of the game, which is widely available and has a steady stream of new content coming out.” (This sets aside the question of whether I need a steady stream of new content; being disappointed by weak Arkham Horror expansions contributed to the lessening of my ardor for that game.)

Recently, the promotion of the new Gamma World happening on Twitter has gotten to me. I really would like to try this, because it sounds like a goofy good time, which is about the only way I want to deal with the premise of “after the Mega-Whoops.” It’d also be a chance to take a good, long look at the rules underlying Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, on which this iteration of Gamma World is based.

Here’s my conundrum: I’ve always — more often than, fairly frequently, a bit, when it suits me — said it’s better to use the stuff you’ve got than buy yet another set of rules for role-playing that are ultimately only slightly different from the dozens one already owns. But the point of trying the new Gamma World is one’s trying the new Gamma World, not mimicking it with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or whatever else. So the usual tactic of “use what you’ve got” doesn’t work, partly for the system involved, but also because I don’t have any role-playing materials about a wacky post-apocalypse.

My first tactic is to mitigate the risk of a non-utilized purchase. If I actually play this one, unlike the many, shamefully unplayed role-playing games on my shelves, I can better rationalize the purchase — which is probably still a logical fallacy given past behavior and the extent by which similar decisions have changed notably in their outcomes. To this end, I’m trying to find some people to commit to playing Gamma World at Winter Weirdness on January 8th.

At what point does a $40 box set become worth it? One play? Two? Six? A dozen? In dollars per hour, if we play a four hour session at Winter Weirdness, that’s $10 per hour of play, not counting tax. If one considers preparation time entertaining and it takes ten hours to absorb everything in the box, it’s less than $3 per hour, but I don’t really hold with that perspective.

Again, though, I think this is an expression of my recurring “Ooh, new. Want!” impulse. I could just ignore it, stick with Ghostbusters and Fiasco for Winter Weirdness and go on my way. That honestly makes the most sense and saying “We’ll have Gamma World to play!” isn’t really going to make a difference in who turns out, will it?

What would you do?


For Christmas this year, I got a couple game-related items. First and most obvious was my very own copy of Dominion, to which I promptly added the Envoy and Black Market decks I picked up last month. That now makes at least four copies of the game in the local board game community. It may be time to organize some kind of Dominion tournament at Quarterstaff Games.

I also received a couple of gift certificates, one to Barnes & Noble’s online store and Quarterstaff Games. The game store certificate I think I’ll bank for a while; there’s nothing out at the moment I especially want. The new edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill is the next board game release I really want and that’s probably going to be late 2010, at least. The Extraterrestrial Sourcebook for Conspiracy X has been variously stuck at the printer or on the boat for months now, so maybe I’ll use it on that if it ever appears. There’s also Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space which has tempted me somewhat, but I have philosophical issues with the notion of that purchase I’ll get around to explaining sometime soon.

The Barnes & Noble certificate I’d like to use rather more sharpish, as I imagine these end of year deals will, well, end with the year — which makes the decision tough, because Barnes & Noble’s game selection is much more limited. I’m considering getting the Pathfinder corebook, for example, which I think would be a kick in the pants to participating more in the Wednesday Pathfinder Society games, or maybe the systemless Pirate’s Guide to Freeport as a general purpose resource, or even another Changeling: The Lost supplement, assuming it’s in stock. I could just get a Lovecraft anthology as research for an upcoming project, but really, that’s what Paperbackswap.com is for.

Regrettably, their board game selection is rather light at the moment. I couldn’t even pick up a copy of Carcassonne if I wanted.

So I don’t know, really. Anyone have suggestions of a gaming-related item to get from Barnes & Noble?