Radio Active #58: Chess for Kids, Geek Dads, D&D 4E

On this episode of Radio Active, I discuss my daughter StarGirl’s sudden desire to learn chess and my approach to teaching her, contemplate the impending arrival of National Novel Writing Month, check out the Geek Dad Podcast and Simian Farmer blog and offer some thoughts on the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

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Show Notes

  • Nuketown News
    • Chess for Kids: Jordan’s started playing chess: She decided she wanted to learn, got a book at the library, now we’re reading it every night. She’s got three games under her belt and is doing pretty well.
    • NaNoWriMo Rising
  • Promos: Playing for Keeps
  • Netheads
    • The blog spawns a podcast. I’ve only just started listening to it, but it seems a good mix of tech and parenting, with roundtable discussions of life and geek dadhood.
    • Currently running a contest to build a mouse-trap powered contraption with your kids; winner gets a LEGO Star Destroyer.
    • The geek dad of two young boys talks about life, home improvements, parenting and geekiness. Expect to find antecdotes, video, photos, and plenty more. An amusing diversion for your morning RSS reading.
    • Geek Dads Podcast
    • Simian Farmer
  • Promo: Better Late Than Never Podcast
  • Commentary: D&D 4th Edition:
    • So far, none one in my group is clamoring for a new edition of the game, and I think most of us have taken a “wait and see” approach to upgrading.
    • I’m not opposed to staying with 3.5; they killed off the print editions of Dragon and Dungeon, which were two of the engines that kept me wanting to stay current with D&D. I think we could get a manageable version of 3.5 working by jotting down what books we’re going to use in a given campaign, and red-lining any prestige classes/feats/spells we felt didn’t fit the Greyhawk setting.
    • A recent installment of “Sage Advice” said there would be no conversion guide from 3E to 4E and recommended that people start over at 1st level rather than convert. While I’m sure we will start over at 1st, there’s no way we’re giving up 11 years of campaign history. They’ve backed off from that article somewhat, saying you’ll be able to convert a character “thematically”, but there’s no one-for-one conversion (and given the amount of rules 3.5 spawned, that’s somewhat understandable).
    • Most concerned about the WoWification of D&D, as every class is able to do something every round. It could be cool … but it could also be overpowering for our relatively-low powered Greyhawk game. My theory? D&D 4E may be a great game … but it may not be D&D.
    • Whether I like the game or not may depend on how the action point mechanic is integrated; I like how Savage Worlds, Battlestar Galactica and Mutants & Masterminds have used a similar technique to reward role-playing in-game and found it to really work well. If the mechanic manages to foster role-playing over statdumping, then I’ll be a happy gamer.
    • I suspect that we’ll do what we did with 3rd edition, which is run a short, 4-6 month campaign using the core rules of the new edition, and see whether the improvements and changes warrant an upgrade. I’m pushing for my “Planetorn” campaign idea, in which we   play characters that adventure through the planescape, trying to figure out what has caused a massive planar storm that’s destroying material planes. Folks can play anything they want, including kobold paladins. Really. My original planetorn write-up is on the web site.
  • Promo
    • Gamemaster’s Show
  • Outro