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Tag Archive: office space


Review by C.J. Bunce

This summer Wizards of the Coast has come at its Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition adventures from a strange vantage point with its latest addition, Acquisitions Incorporated.  What if you viewed your next adventure into the Forgotten Realms as a business?  Overlay your Dungeon Master’s next adventure with the components of an enterprising CEO, rival marketeers, and your mundane workplace and what do you get?  Actual slobbering Barbarians at the Gate?  Office Space plays out not in those cold, grey cubicles but in any of your chosen D&D realms, as branding, marketing, team building, product placement, and even making your corporate headquarters takes on new meaning, as players step into familiar gameplay with an oddly familiar backdrop.

Grab your 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and DM’s Guide for fuller adventures, but in a single volume Acquisitions Incorporated really includes all you need for your first entrepreneurial effort, a six-level adventure, The Orrery of the WandererSelect a corporate logo.  Locate your headquarters–how about a tavern, a battle-worn castle (will cost you more in overhead), a chapel, a private library, an abandoned lighthouse, a blacksmith’s shop, a turnip wagon (that is bigger on the inside), or a waterproof canvas (where it’s always spring inside)?  Maybe your right hand man is a retired captain, a druid with an open door policy (all animals welcome), a chef, or the ghost of the previous owner (Jacob Marley as mentor, anyone?).  Plus you’ll have several insiders you may encounter, including a customs official and a knitter who can also wield a sword.  Upward advancement means your franchise can get an exclusive license to a region.  Staff members include a majordomo, untrained and trained hirelings, and task-specific crew.  If you’ve ever worked at a restaurant and had to clean a grease trap, you’ll appreciate the grease compartment as a weapon.  And who hasn’t made it to 3 p.m. and wished they had an escape pod?

Take your chances as one of a number of familiar corporate types, like a famous person’s kid, a failed merchant, a gambler, a plaintiff, or a rival intern.  Play your character like a barbarian, a bard, a cleric, a druid, a fighter, a monk, a paladin, a rogue, a sorcerer, a warlock, or a wizard.  Who needs to hire Deloitte when you can (wisely) enlist a cartographer, a decisionist, a documancer, a hoardsperson, a loremonger, an obviator, an occultant, or a secretarian to build your strategy.  It’s not all fun and games–this is a corporation, after all, so money needs to be made and tasks need to be completed.  You’ll be faced with Complications, like learning your company is accused of stealing someone else’s idea, staff members go missing, an audit finds a spy, or an angry staff member decides to sabotage your business.  Nothing is easy, whether it’s marketeering, misplaced philanthropy, a bad sales month, or simply rival competitors.  You’ll need to watch out for shady business practices as you schmooze and team build.  It’s all familiar, right?  So do you have what it takes to succeed in business in a fantasy realm?

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Everyone keeps something on their desk to distract them from what they are supposed to be doing.  Whether at your home or office, this includes photographs, and probably little oddities that have a message or memory only you understand.  Miniature Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy?  Check.  USB drive that is shaped like a Game of Thrones house symbol?  Check.  A shiny medal with ribbon, but you can’t remember what you won?  Check.  That plastic… thing?  Check.  Now publisher Running Press has a new desk ornament for your favorite cat fan.

It’s the Zen Garden… Litter Box.

It’s not for your cats.

I had a zen garden on my office desk credenza as a lawyer for 20 years.  On conference calls, it was easy for my hands to hover over to it and rake some new design among the shiny rocks while strategizing through the next work problem.  This sand garden fits in your hand–it’s a black plastic sand box, complete with sand, a wooden rake, some rocks, and two cats (if you ever played the game Pig Mania or Pass the Pigs, you could pull the pigs out of the box and they’d match the size of these little cats).  It’s a mash-up of the traditional zen garden or Japanese rock garden, the litter box, and the sandbox your neighbor cat “played in” in your backyard when you were a kid.

But why?  Zen gardens are a traditional way to reduce stress, improve your focus, and develop a sense of well-being.  Life is stressful, work is stressful, plus what brings down blood pressure better than cats?

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