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After years of tuning by ear I started to not trust my ears judgement as much. Fortunately christmas time came around and this little baby happened to be in the basket, hooray!
The guitar man tuner is a clip-on tuner, this means you clip it to the headstock, and it will sense the vibrations from the guitar and recognise the note. There is no microphone on this guitar, sound is just vibration after all...
The tuner itself is small lightweight and easy to use. There is an on/off switch on the right hand side and once it's on, you just clip it onto the head of your guitar and away you go. It grips the headstock firmly and shows no risk of loosening and falling off, I've had mine since the christmas before last and it's still holding up well.
The LED screen in the middle of the tuner displays the notes and their accuracy. During tuning, a pointer will show up. If the pointer is pointing to the center, that string is perfectly tuned. If it is pointing towards the left, it is flat and if it is towards the right, it is sharp. It's extremely easy to use and you should get the hang of it just on your first tuning of the guitar. Not to mention that it stops you relying on your ears. Although your ears do develop and you can hear the notes without needing the tuner, it's sometimes useful to have a point of reference especially after years of not using one
I'd recommend this to anyone to who's on the hunt for a new tuner. It's cheap (£9) sturdy and reliable.
When I moved out of my parents house and began living off of my savings in order to find a job, I needed CV's. These CV's needed to look presentable, and this is where this beauty came in.
This stapler from WHSmith is a medium-sized and fairly weighty black staple with a nice bump upon the top of the stapler I suppose for comfort.
The stapler works like any other stapler and can fit a large number (I am NOT counting) of staples in its barrel. Stapling with this stapler is quick, easy and gets the job done. I've never had the stapler jam up on me during important times and this is a relief as often it can be quite tricky to retrieve a bent stapler out of these.
The price point for a stapler this size is also very appealing given the fact that I've had to pay nearly twice that at other shops (I'm looking at you Ryman stationery). Once you've bought it I think you'll feel that you won't need another one, I believe this to be true. I can't ever really imagine this stapler doing an unjust service and it should be with you for years to come.
Just make sure there are staples in it before you complain!
For those wondering why this is my 2nd calculator review, it's because we use this calculator in work. I'm not just sat here ordering calculators. For those of you who are just sat there ordering calculators, maybe this site will be useful.
Ahhh yes the calculator museum...
Anyway, the Aurora calculator is a standard non-scientific calculator which we use for simple addition and subtraction. It can also be used to divide and multiply and has all the other memory functions of other calculators just in case you need to recall a piece of particularly important information.
The buttons are laid out sensibly and even the fatter fingered folk should find this a breeze due to its size. Its size is also it's problem, it is a tad bulky so should this put you off, look elsewhere. It's also not solar powered which I realise is a huge flaw. I think the majority of people want a solar powered calculator just for the hassle free aspect and so that you don't have to buy those awkward circular batteries that no one knows how to insert.
The screen is easy to read and the calculator lays flat on the desk (it does not have a raised screen). I find this useful as it means I'm not hitting the calculator out of place when I'm entering numbers into the calculator.
All in all, as far as a calculator goes, it's probably not the best, bulky and non-solar powered? No thanks.
Planet waves are a company who focus on musical equipment. People rate their cables quite highly, let's see why.
I first bought my planet waves cable about 3 years ago, admittedly it hasn't had much use this year (I've converted over to acoustic) but the 2 years that it was in daily use, it never showed any sign of stress.
The cable is 20 feet long and is not coiled so is ideal for those live situations where you'll be moving around on stage. It's also useful for in the studio when you need a large distance between yourself and the equipment (like when you're trying to prevent feedback from your amplifier). The long distance also (theoretically) decreases the signal but you won't notice this at all, it's just a fact I though I'd throw in so that this review is not completely biased!
The signal I receive from this cable is always crackle and hum free and I don't seem to hear any colouration of sound so I can be confident that the sound going in is the same as the sound going out. The angled side of the jack works wonders for playing when you're sitting down as it means that you're not permanently bending and damaging the cable on the bed or chair that you are sat on (a pet peeve of mine).
The only faults I could possibly find with this cable is the price and that my other planet waves one is better, and only for one simple reason. It has an on/off switch, this is a rare thing in jack cables so I will let this one off. Price wise, you will find that this can cost up to twice the amount of a normal cable but that is because of a few things
These factor quite heavily into the price but again, all of these factors considered it is still not the cheapest. But, if that puts you off, perhaps I have something to sway you... LIFETIME guarantee. That's right, keep your receipt and you basically have an infinitely replaceable lead. Surely that's the nail in the coffin?
HTC (High tech computer) are a corporation that focus on technology. The HTC desire is one of their releases and focuses on a user-friendly interface with a slick touchscreen.
Having never purchased this brand new (I received it off my Dad when he got a new one) I can't really comment on the price at release. A quick google brings up an average price of £150 so it's not breaking the bank for a phone of this stature.
The phone itself is about 4 1/2 inches long and quite slim, these days phones just seem to be getting bigger when a couple of years ago the emphasis was on how small they were...
The phone is quite big but I think I'm just saying that as it's my first 'smart' phone. For people who have already owned this type of phone, I think you'll find the adjustment to this phone rather easy.
I've found the phone itself to be easy to use and having gone from something similar to an early cameraphone, I made the leap quite easily! The touchscreen is extremely responsive and never seem's to lock. The menu is easy to work around and even if it isn't you can re-order it. What I like about this phone is the customization that it offers, the majority of the menus and lists can easily be reformatted and rearranged to better suit YOU.
The camera on the phone is very sharp although it must be said that I take about 5 photos with the phone before I get one of decent quality. It is very hard to get a sharp picture first time, they always seem to come out blurry.
The internet is easily accessible and you can download shortcut keys off of the internet to make it even quicker. The most useful ones I find are Google and Facebook. I just drag and drop the icons onto the main screen and then I'm on that site just by touching the icon, ah technology...
Just a quick word of the internet and its glory...
My computer has no internet (well it does, but it literally takes 10 minutes to load a page) and I discovered I could use my phone as a router and save a bit of money that way. This phone is much more useful than I initially realised.
Concerning the rest of the features of this phone, the sound is what you'd expect from a phone, it is not groundbreaking but you can clearly discern that it is your phone that's ringing. Games can be played on this phone and I haven't found any that run slow or jittery, although I'm sure the time will come. Text messaging and phoning is quite quick although I think I'll always prefer real keys for most things. And of course, there are multiple modes to the phone which are always handy at work or in meetings (Silent, Vibrate etc...)
As far as phones go, I think it's a safe bet to go with this phone. I'm not really a phone snob so perhaps I'm not the best person to sell you on its ability to store more than 100 songs or its ability to light a fire from pressing a button or even its ability to timetravel but if all you need is an up to date phone that has a few more things than your antiquated phone, I can see no reason to not go with this phone. Much cheaper than any iPhone!
Moleskine are a brand that are synonymous with class. Their sleek leather, slightly yellowed thick paper does wonders on the eyes and fingers.
I ordered the large moleskine sketchbook because I finished my old one and was looking for a change from the horrible stock paper that you can get from a supermarket. I wanted to spend a modest amount of money on something that would last. I found these on amazon for cheaper than anywhere else so I went ahead and bought the sketchbook and the music sketchbook aswell.
My initial impression was largely positive as I'd never really came into contact with 'classy' books like these before. For a while I treated it like absolute gold until I realised that most of the personality of something like this comes from its scars and odd scratches.
The paper itself was very good for pen, for pencil it wasn't as good, I think it has something to do with the grain in the paper? Either way it didn't concern me because I do ink drawings. The paper was thick and managed to handle the majority of inks I used (although not permanent marker). The ink never managed to bleed through to the other page which was an extreme delight, it meant I had free reign over all my over-active ink pens once more!
As for the book itself, the binding was excellent, not once did I worry about a page becoming detached. I think every 10 or so pages is binded individually and then each individual bind is sewn together for an extremely strong book and spine. I had no worries whatsoever about the quality of the book, the front and back felt extremely strong and yet still largely flexible for anyone short of space in their rucksacks.
There were however a few faults I could find with the books. If it had not been for amazon and their glorious prices, I would have paid far too much for this product. So long as you stick with amazon or anywhere else doing a similar price I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
The other qualm was with the size, it says large.
By large I was expecting an A4 size sketchbook for some larger drawings however what I received was indeed the large sketchbook but they are only A5. Just beware of this if you were planning it for big projects.
Apart from those quibbles I believe this to be an absolutely reliable product which will occupy my bookshelf for years to come.
Might and magic 8 is an RPG developed by New World Computing and was released in 2001. It is played on the PC and was also ported to PS2 in Japan. It can be bought cheaply practically anywhere.
The game itself features the same gameplay as the past ones in the series (See My review on MM7 for a full insight).
For those who have not read the article, here is a quick recap of play in the game.
You take control of 4 different adventurers who all have different advantages and disadvantages, some are great with a sword. Others have mastered the dark art of magic and others are extremely good at getting better prices at an armoury. Whatever character you choose, they are all well balanced and so should prove useful.
Once you have chosen your adventurers you begin the game in first person view and with a brief introduction that gives you a quest and then you're on your way.
The game differs (and suffers) from the others in the series with its storyline. I will not lie, the storyline is generic. Very often, generic storylines can be given a facelift and receive critical acclaim (Lord of the rings did just that), unfortunately that was not the case with this. They managed to make an extremely vanilla plot with only a few fleshed out sections and was often non-coherent.
The plot is explained briefly below and in a nutshell to avoid any spoilers.
The game takes place on the planet Enroth (as with most of the MM series). After a large turn of events, a 'servant of the ancients' arrives in the small village of Ravenshore and (for some reason) summons a giant crystal. This crystal's powers were underestimated as it breached the planes of existence between the elements and now there is war between all elements on the planet Enroth.
It is your mission to stop this war. You must seek out a special key from each of the elements portals (Fire,Water, Air and Earth, if you weren't aware) and forbid them from returning to your planet.
This can be further summarised.
Retrieve the artefact.
Okay, so the plot isn't particularly awe-inspiring but the game itself makes for a pretty good play. There are a large number of different weapons each with a hefty description, many different enemies to avoid monotony and more spells than you could shake a staff at!
I managed to stay entertained throughout the game and I can't really pin point a time when I was bored of playing. I will say this now though, this game is LONG. Much longer than MM7 and that's saying something. The last missions seem to continue further and further, not in a bad way. It keeps you captivated but you do at times start to wonder when it's going to end.
Unfortunately by the time this game was released, it was seen as aged. It simply could not (but did) keep the same graphical layout as the previous ones. This damaged the reception it received due to the fact that games like 'Black and white' and 'Final Fantasy' were tantalising players with their realistic graphics.
It seems there are good and bad points to this game that just seem to balance out and let you enjoy a good ol' dungeon crawl. The graphics and plot bring the game down but the sheer depth of the game and elements of gameplay bring it back up.
My only qualms with this game are the sound, I can't remember a single one of the compositions performed whilst I was playing. In the other games I'm usually humming the tunes or listening to them on Itunes for days on end. It's not that the music is bad. Again, it's just a bit vanilla.
Black and white is a city-building god game which focuses on the butterfly effect and how things can change based on your decisions.
It was developed by Lionhead studios and released in 2001.
A short word about Lionhead studios: If you've read my other reviews on games you'll no doubt have learnt that I am a fan of Bullfrog's releases and fortunately for me, Lionhead studios is basically Bullfrog. When Bullfrog was bought out by EA, Peter Molyneux (the lead designer in bullfrog) decided to start a new company, thus Lionhead was born. Lionhead carries the Bullfrog flame and it burns bright. Now, onto the game!
The game takes place on various different levels with the basic plot to kill Nemesis (who is also your nemesis). In order to get to Nemesis, you must go through his weaker companions first.
It begins with a simple tutorial of resource management, the game focuses heavily on harvesting wood, grain and stone in order to expand and improve your civilizations. Your civilization consists of a number of villagers who each have different roles in life, farmers, foresters etc...
They will reproduce and your population will increase and so will the demands, you can see all of these demands on-screen.
Once you have gone through the very first tutorial and accustomed yourself. You will be greeted with an option.
There are 3 animals displayed in front of you, a tiger, monkey and cow. You may choose one to follow you for the course of the game, each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages and it is important to consider these before deciding. Once you have decided upon your creature, the fun really starts.
You can tame and train your creature to do a number of actions both good and evil. Evil actions will scare your villagers into doing their jobs although you can find that occasionally villagers will leave your settlement and travel to the enemies villages.
On the other side is good, this is definitely the easier path to take, you attract more migrants and please more of your own villagers. All in all a win win situation.
With an ever increasing civilization comes ever increasing power. This power is spent on improving your creature, you can teach your creature spells to heal villagers, or spells to attack creatures.
It should be noted that the enemy also has a creature and so they can do the exact same actions as you.
It's a cow eat cow world.
I'd recommend this game to anyone who possesses a keen interest in civilization building games and watching progress. The game can at times be a bit slow so I wouldn't recommend it on that fact. However, if you have the patience to watch as your civilizations and creatures flourish, then this game is the game for you.
Casio are an electronics company who focus on... Well, electronics!
This is the Casio MX-8, a non-scientific calculator for simple addition/subtraction/multiplication and division.
The calculator has all of the usual buttons that you'd expect to see, the number pad and all of the memory buttons. The buttons themselves are colour coded which although isn't really that noticeable at first, it could be subliminally useful when we are doing our maths. The buttons are large enough for any sausage fingered person out there and they're easy to push down as well.
The calculator is solar powered and battery powered should you be doing maths in a cave. The battery takes a DC 1.5 volt battery and is inserted by unscrewing the back plastic case and slotting the battery in. Most of the time, you will not need this battery as the solar panel on the front does the job.
Another handy (although not always implemented) feature is the 'Off' button. The 'Off' button for some reason isn't on all solar powered calculators. Although it's not essential (I think the sun will be around for a long time) it does prove handy if you don't want the distraction of an 'On' calculator in your face.
There are a few other perks to the calculator, one being the rubber feet on the back. These feet prevent slippage on any hard surfaces such as a desk counter and easily keep the calculator in place so you won't lose it.
You'll also find that the screen that displays the numbers on the calculator is slightly angled towards you, this is a nice bit of convenience and makes quite a big difference. When the screen isn't angled you have to pick the calculator up otherwise all you can see is all of the black plasma occupying the whole screen.
The only time I wouldn't recommend this calulator is if you are doing GCSE maths or above. For everyday calculations, this does the job just fine.
And there you have it, the Casio MX-8
Theme Hospital is another fine Bullfrog release. Bullfrog are a game development/production team who's focus was on quirky simulations with a slightly dark sense of humour. Theme Hospital fitted the bill perfectly.
A few other games in the franchise are Dungeon Keeper 1+2, Populous, Magic Carpet and also, the ever popular Theme Park series.
Theme Hospital was released in 1997 and is one of its kind, I have never seen a similar release.
***What is Theme Hospital?***
Theme Hospital is a hospital simulator which takes place over 13 levels of increasing difficulty and also includes a few bonus levels which involve humorously dealing with vermin problems.
The game revolves around placing buildings and rooms of different designations in order to cure illnesses. Once you have cured a certain amount of patients, maintained a reputation and a certain amount of cash, you have passed the level and the next level will certainly have higher targets to reach.
When you start the game, you are given an empty hospital and a budget, with this money you will buy all the buildings required and hire staff for each building. Certain buildings require different staff for instance;
Psychiatric ward - Here you will need to recruit one doctor who also has psychiatric training, placing a doctor without this training will result in nothing happening
Surgery - In the surgery you need TWO doctors with training in surgery. I find surgeons are the most sought after member of the hospital as they are quite hard to hire.
Research department - The research department is where you will discover new medicine, new buildings and also improve old treatment methods, here you will need a doctor with ample research training.
As soon as the game begins, it begins paused so that you can do some building and hiring before all of the patients come in and give you lots of grief. Aside from buying buildings during this period, you also recruit receptionists to book in the customers and drinks machines, radiators and plants to give your customers a better mood.
When customers have a better mood, you get a better reputation and this means more customers which means more money which means a better hospital which means more customers which means you finish the level!
***Who is the game not for?***
This game is not an action game and sometimes it is not particularly fast paced. If you are a gamer that likes to sit back and watch the game develop without your input all of the time then this is the game for you.
Rather contradictory to the above statement, the game often requires a large amount of your attention. There are times where you will have turn the heating down in order to finance your hospital for the upcoming year, take loans out for better equipment and employ cleaners to clean the hospital up and water your plants. The entire game is not focused around curing patients but rather has a centric focus on managing the hospital as a whole.
If this level of detail is putting you off slightly, don't be alarmed!
The first levels are user friendly and keen players who enjoy management WILL enjoy Theme Hospital.
I've tried to find a fault in Theme Hospital I really have. I have a few small things which might put off some players.
Tasteless - The game CAN be tasteless, you will see people physically vomit all over your floors and the description of illnesses is sometimes rather crude, as an example;
The illness - The Squits
The cause - Eating pizza found under the cooker
Whilst I myself find these funny, I can imagine some of the more mature players may not take as much of a shine to it.
The other fault I found (and this one is much more universally agreed) was with the menu system in the game itself. For a new player it may be a bit confusing to try and even quit the game. The menu hides away until your mouse happens to hover over the top of the screen. Again, this is a bit annoying as there is no mention of this, but even so, after 5 minutes of play that quibble is over.
In short: I love Theme Hospital and you should definitely buy it, it is cheap and hours of entertainment.
Frustration! is a fast paced racing game aiming at short play times and exciting gameplay. It was manufactured by Milton Bradley and released in (believe it or not) 1965...
The game itself actually originates from America and is only called Frustration! in the UK. Elsewhere it is called Trouble!
The game can be played by 2-4 players and its ease of play means anyone over the age of 4 should feel comfortable about playing the game.
"How do I play"
The game is turn based. Each player takes control of 4 coloured counters, there are 4 colours in total to help differentiate between the players. These colours can be seen on the box and are red, yellow, blue and green. The first player to get all of their 4 counters to their end destination is the winner. The end destination is just a few short spaces behind where you begin, obviously you cannot move backward or this would be an even shorter game!
Your counters starts off in a 'base'. The base is a 'safe' area but no movement can take place so you are essentially stuck. In order to get a counter out of the base, you will have to roll a 6 on the dice within the plasting popping dome in the middle of the game board.
Once you have your counter out of base, you can now begin to make your way around the board. Sometimes sheer luck will end the game early. For example, you may have popped your counter out of its base extremely early on in the game, and everyone else still hasn't manage to roll a 6 to get their counter out of their base. In this case you're off to an extremely good head start.
When the other players do start to get onto the actual race track of the board, it starts to intensify. If two players land on the same spot, then the last player to land on that spot may send that other players piece all the way back to base. This forces them to practically start the game again.
The only time that tactic is not possible is if a player has managed to get their counter to their desired position. If the counter is at the end position, it cannot be taken and so is safe. It is only on the race course that it is at risk.
When a player has managed to get all 4 pieces to their end destination, they are declared the winner. The game can continue until there is just one person left on the board and they are declared the loser.
Although the game is fun whilst you are playing, you will notice this time flies. It could be that it is flying because the game is fun, or it could be because of the incredibly short playing time. I've found on average that the game typically lasts between 10-15 minutes. To some people this playing time is desirable, for others who like to get stuck into a games detail it might not prove as satisfying. If you are a person who prefers depth or longer games then I would not recommend this game.
I would recommend this game as an introduction into board games for younger children, the rules are extremely simple, the game lasts long enough to keep their attention and the game board is fairly bright coloured. For anyone else that is just looking to kill a short amount of time, this game could also be recommended.
Recommended for anyone with children or just breaking the ice with some new people.
The Amethyst iPig is an ipod dock music player that focuses on packing a punch within a small budget.
Given the size, you'd be forgiven for not expecting much from this little piggy. When you do get round to turning it on, you'll be amazed at the sound quality. The bass is very clearly defined for something so small and it's by no means a tinny soundsystem. The volume is easily (and cutely) adjusted by pressing each ear individually, the left ear reduces the volume, the right ear increases the volume. Nice'n'simple.
It needs to be mentioned that the novelty value of using the ears as a volume control does tire. There are times when the volume doesn't change because it's not very clearly defined how to change the volume.
The set up is extremely swift, it is very much a plug'n'play affair. Once you've plugged in the pig (hehe), there is a small on/off switch at the back (aswell as a few other controls we'll look at later) which means the pig will turn on and off, go figure. Now that the pig is on, the pigs mouth will illuminate a bright green colour to indicate that it's on. It's as simple as plugging your ipod into the top of the pig and pressing play on your ipod.
"I don't have an ipod, can I still use it?"
You can indeed! At the back are other controls including;
.A bass adjuster
The input means you can easily link it up to your laptop, computer or anything else with a headphone output.
The bass adjuster does just that, it adjusts the bass. I've found that the bass usually performs the best when it is set quite high. Although I did mention before that the bass is clearly defined, it is only so well defined when the bass is at a high level. That said, being from an engineering background, I can also say that the bass will vary from room to room. Smaller rooms typically give out more bass and so in a smaller room it might not need such a large boost. We usually have it sat in quite a large kitchen so it is necessary for a high setting.
Speaking of high settings, this thing is loud.
There's been many a time where I've been woken up upstairs because of my housemates blaring this little piggy at 5 in the morning. It will go beyond your expectation in terms of volume and honestly surprised me on all fronts when I first plugged it in and listened.
Below are the technical specficiations for any tech-heads reading this.
The iPig efficiently utilizes minimal energy and is designed using environmentally friendly components and non-hazardous materials
Amplifier output power: left / right 4W x 2
Amplifier output power: Subwoofer 15W x 1
Amplifier input sensitivity: ≤ 400mV
Amplifier SNR: ≥ 82dB
Amplifier distortion-: ≤ 0.7%
Frequency response: 60 Hz - 20 KHz
Speaker units: tweeter ф 35mm, subwoofer ф 94mm
Power voltage: AC110-240V, 50/60Hz
All in all, I'd recommend this for anyone who has an interest in high-quality sound but does not want to break the bank. It is sturdy, easy to use and fairly cheap. What else could you want?
So you've read my other two reviews on the popular role-playing game 'Dungeons and Dragons' and now we come to the end of the reviews. As I have said previously in the other reviews, in order to have a fully functioning game of D&D, you will need all 3 books;
The Players Handbook
The Dungeon Masters Guide
The Monstrous Manual
In this review I'll be reviewing the third and final book in the essential series.
***What is the monstrous manual?***
The monstrous manual is a hardback book containing 374 pages of various creatures to import into your game. The book itself is 384 pages long.
Each creature listed has all the statistics that are required to play the game. These range from the essentials such as the number of hitpoints and their special abilities to the lesser known/needed details of the creature.
Take a Goblin for example,
The essential things to know listed about the goblin are that it has;
An Armour class of 6
Can move upto 6 feet in a turn
Has a damage range of 1-6 ( a 6-sided dice)
You get 15 experience points if you kill it.
Then, there are the details that are not necessary in order to play but do add depth to the creatures lore.
Again, taking the Goblin as an example,
We know various other information about the Goblin such as;
A Goblin tribe typical consists of 40-400 Goblins in it.
For every 40 Goblins in this tribe, there will be a Goblin leader to address that faction.
Their lair has a large chance (60%) of being guarded by wolves.
Goblins typicall live for 50 years.
They will eat anything.
These facts are present for each creature and provide useful information for the dungeon master who might be confronted with odd questions by his players
"So, I killed that Goblin, why was he going for me? What was his motive?
Response "You disrupted their lair, the wolves made enough noise to warn the cave dwelling Goblins who were at the time feasting on rat remains"
A crude example, but it shows its benefits.
***What else is in the book***
Aside from the creatures in the book, there is a beginning section which introduces all of the terminology used throughout the book. Obviously you can't be expected to know all the terms without ever having played the game.
Towards the back, there is a blank template to create your own creatures, it is well formatted and has sections to put all of your information. These sections are;
Filling in a weighty description for each of these columns will provide you with a very convincing monster indeed!
Aside from these features, one of the most useful aspects of the book is the 'random encounter tables' towards the back of the book. With these tables, you roll a dice, look at the number rolled on the dice and then reference the chart to see what monster you have generated for use in the game. These are useful for dungeon masters who are pressed for time as it saves them thinking of each individual creature.
Whilst so far the book is sounding rather delightful, there are some aspects that could be improved.
Some of the facts about creatures are not consistent throughout.
A real example of this would be the section on Dragons. One page declares a number of hit points but on the other page is a completely different number! These inconsistencies are slim. In the event that you do manage to come across an error, just choose one statistic over another as a permanent solution.
There is not much left to say about this book. It has lots of content but is extremely easy to grasp, leaving any dungeon master that doubted their ability to breathe a sigh of relief as they open this book...
I won't go into too much detail about what Dungeons and Dragons is, that can be seen in my other review of a different book for Dungeons and Dragons on my profile.
Now that you've skimmed through that review, we're ready to continue.
***What is a Dungeon Master?***
A Dungeon master or 'DM' is the person who sets up, regulates and maintains the game throughout play. You are the one that allows and bans certain actions in the game. You are...The Dungeon Master.
As Dungeon master however, you are also heavily burdened with many commitments. If you have told your players that you will be the DM, you have basically said to them 'You don't have to put in that hard work, I'll do it!'. So it's important that your head and heart are in the right place before you start doing this,as it can often be a long and arduous process.
The commitments of the dungeon master are fairly large as well. In order to play a game, you must at least possess a story. Usually that is not enough, the players will be content on trying to find flaws within your story, you must be extremely prepared or they WILL find flaws in your story. It's best to back up your story/adventures with maps of the settings. Once you have the maps done, you will need to populate these with monsters to ensure there is some form of risk in the game aswell. Usually individual monsters will need backgrounds aswell.
Remember, with a role-playing game ANYTHING can happen. Although that giant bear was there to attack the players, the players may have gotten lucky and got on its good side. When this happens and you are unprepared the game fails. So let's recap
A dungeon master will (probably) need;
A story - A setting, location, history, names of famous figures, etc...
Maps - Regional maps, world maps, town maps, dungeon maps, ALLLL the maps.
Monsters - Not just their statistics like hit-points and attack, they need a background and a motive.
Risks - Hovering platforms 5,000 feet above smelting lava and the only way is to jump.
Rewards - You jumped over the lava didn't you, here, have some cool stuff.
Continuation - More quests that continue the story are usually more satisfying than one different quest after another.
***Why would I WANT to be Dungeon Master?***
Despite the large amount of effort needed to have a successful game, the rewards are great. The players are like putty in your hands and you control the fate of most of them.
It's also extremely educational when you're creating a background for your stories. You'd be surprised at the things you need to read about in order to convincingly convey a village.
Although I have mostly stressed the need for dungeon masters to create,create and create! They also do get to play the game. All the villains and monsters that you created are played out by you. You get to make the story AND play it, sounding a bit better now? Yer it is!
Now that I have piqued your interest, perhaps you'd like to know about the book oh young dungeon master...
***The Dungeon Master Guide book***
The Dungeon's master guide is a companion to the players handbook (for 2nd edition) and is essential in order to play the game. The number of useful charts and tables spread throughout the book are the biggest reason to buy. Whilst the book is largely useful, there is a lot of 'fluff' text. Text that is not really needed and just drags on adjective after adjective.
I believe they probably could have slimmed down the book personally as it is rather weighty and some points could be said in half the words they've used.
The dungeon masters guide contains such useful information as;
Encounter tables - These tables are looked at when you want to randomly generate a creature for a specific type of terrain
Treasure tables - Occasionally you might need a shortcut. Sometimes you can't think of suitable treasure for completing a quest and that is what these tables are for.
Rules - Lots of rules. Thankfully, this book covers a lot of ground that the players handbook does and so the majority of the time you and your players can easily reference a section in two different books, this is extremely helpful when you want to preserve the pace of your game.
***Am I a dungeon master?***
Not yet, but I believe with proper studying of this guide, you will be the greatest!
For those of who you are completely unaware of Dungeons and Dragons (also knows as D'n'D) , or pay attention to the unfortunate stigma that it has attached, allow me to clarify...
***What is Dungeons and Dragons***
Dungeons and Dragons is a role-playing game. A role-playing game is a game that takes place largely in your imagination with statistical data such as your health/spells/items etc... in front of you on a piece of paper. This piece of paper is known as a character sheet.
Play takes place with someone thinking of an adventure. These adventures usually take place in dungeons and focus on hero-centric quests such as saving some lost children, destroying evil etc...
Once a story has been devised, the players will create their characters, equip them with provisions and weapons and be on their way. There are a number of different characters to choose from and you can level up and gain even more skills and get better and better the more you play.
It is after the story and characters have been created that play properly begins. The person who wrote the story/adventure will narrate what is happening and the players will react to this narrative. Through the events that the narrator tells, you the players, get the chance to find treasure, fight monsters and be heroes.
***Why do I need this book***
In order to actually create the character, you need the book. The book contains all the important data about your characters attributes, what it can and and can't do and all the other useful goodies.
The book is also all you as the player need to play the game. This game is EXTREMELY cost effective, after you have bought the books needed (there are 3 in total) you will spend most of your time writing stories and drawing maps for your adventures. The whole game in this day and age would set you back £20-30 and would provide limitless entertainment. Unlike a PC or console game, these games have no end. As long as people keep writing adventures there will always be things to play.
I mentioned previously about 2 other books in order to play. There are 2 occupations in a game of D'n'D. Either the player, or the dungeon master. The player is just an adventurer who goes on quests. The dungeon master is the person that creates all of the adventures and stocks up dungeons with rewards and monsters to fight along the way. Being the dungeon master is much more hard work but is also the greatest and most powerful position in the game.
In order to play as a player all you will need is the players handbook.
In order to play as the dungeon master you will need 1) The dungeon masters guide. 2) The monstrous manual.
In order to play D'n'D, as a group you will need atleast these 3 books. Preferably each player would have their own players handbook, who likes sharing anyway?
"But I'm bored of playing the same adventure where we rescue the princess and find out she@s a witch"
If you do ever find yourself getting tired of the settings and monsters, there are many other books that arew compatible with D'n'D which largely expand the game. Below are a few of the additional D'n'D books you can purchase to add more to your game
The Complete Fighters Handbook - A large book that describes optional rules for all fighter characters aswell as rules for forging your own weapons and more.
The castle guide - This book focuses on the realistic design and architecutre of castles and will allow anyone to create a realistic castle with no obvious oddities. It also has rules for sieges and warfare.
Tome of magic - The tome of magic is a book entirely devoted to spells. This book contains over 100 pages of extra spells you can use should you find yourself getting tired of the spells you are currently using.
As you can see from the short run of books I have described, they are quite flavourful and most people tend to want to buy one or two of these books to expand the game although it is not necessary.
***Opinion & Conclusion***
In my opinion, this edition of Dungeons and Dragons (second edition) is the best. Some of the mechanics are slightly unconventional and cumbersome but they still prove much quicker than late editions. Once you have thoroughly learned the system, you won't even notice the occasionally stodgy mechanics.The mechanics are also a sacrifice as it is this edition that provides the most freedom of play compared to later editions. It is also an extremely quick game compared to later editions which rely much more on bookkeeping throughout the game...Where is the fun in that!?
If there is one role-playing book or system to recommend to anyone, it is this book and it is Dungeons and Dragons.