Welcome to Quick and Easy Games!

logo1me-as-kilroy1Clayton Callahan is a science fiction writer, game designer and all around devotee of geek culture. This site is dedicated to promoting all things good in those fields. From gaming to galaxy spanning fiction, this site covers it all. Clayton is the sole proprietor of Quick & Easy Games and this site also serves as an outlet for those products.

Since 2007 Quick and Easy Games has created games that are low in cost but high in quality.  Q&E customers appreciate fast moving, simple to learn rules that make gaming fun. If your tired of paying too much for slick packaged games that take a PHD to learn, we’re the company for you.  If you have any comments or wish to place an order you can contact, Clayton Callahan, the General Manager.

Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Providing the best value in role playing and miniatures gaming since 2007

Facinating Age We Live In

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Sometimes I feel like a time traveler, and in a sense…I am.

I was born the day the Star Trek episode Friday’s Child first aired (Google that and you might gasp, “Damn, he is OLD!”). Back then. the special effects of the original Star Trek looked pretty damn good to most audiences, but we hadn’t seen anything yet. I just stumbled on to a video called Prelude to Axanar, a crowd funded production of science fiction fans, and I am totally blown away. The producers of this project obviously had a limited budget but they still managed to produce something better than 75% of the original episodes.feb521957780bae9dbaae377905c7f67

I’ll start with the writing. The script is crafted as a “history channel” type presentation of the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. This enables them to avoid the cost of staging elaborate scenes in favor of more intimate “interviews” with the key characters of the story. But, oh boy, what dialog! The actors are just sitting in chairs and talking, but the great script plus the top drawer performance of the actors has you riveted.

The dialog is given strength by some amazing special effects that portray space battles between the Federation and the Klingon ships. These two elements, characters and special effects, are balanced in prefect harmony to tell an amazing story to the audience. As a consequence, I can not only recommend this video to Star Trek fans, but to anyone who wishes to study story telling in any medium. It is a compact and well presented tale that is brilliantly told.

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Check it out at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA and look at their website at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/194429923/star-trek-prelude-to-axanar

Why Write a Book About a Space Bar?

Remember high school? Yea, I know, most of us try to forget. Remember home room, that least eventful part of your educational day? Yes, I do too but for a good reason. My homeroom was also the classroom for the schools’ Science Fiction Lit. teacher. I sat in the back…right next to his book shelf, and from there I heard a book literally call to me: Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson. Now, when your last name happens to be Callahan and you love science fiction YOU WILL read that book.

CallahansCrosstimeSaloonCallahan’s is a bar “somewhere in upstate New York” that is patronized by alien cyborgs, vampires, talking dogs, hippie musicians and time travelers. The first book is basically a collection of short stories that originally appeared in Analog Magazine. They’re pretty good stories too. Spider Robinson has a wry sense of humor and a great insight into human nature. He wrote several sequels such as Time Travelers Strictly Cash, and Callahan’ Lady which were popular from the late 1970s to late 1980s. I read them all.

After I ran out of Callahan’s books I started looking around for other science fiction bar tales, but sadly, few were to be found. While in Singapore in 1989 (port of call, I was in the US Navy) I found a book called Another Round At The Spaceport Bar which turned out be an anthology of short stories by such authors as Robert A. Heinlein. It was good…but not good enough. The stories had no connection to one another like they did in Spider Robinson’s work.

Years went by, but in the back of my mind I was still looking for a book that hadn’t been written yet. Something with a lot of humor, camaraderie and a smattering of space adventure. But nobody seemed to be writing that kind of stuff anymore. Then I started thinking about all the times I’d gotten a little tipsy in “con-suites.” You know, those hospitality rooms that can be found on the upper floor of a hotel that’s hosting a science fiction convention? Yea, con suites, where you meet SF fans from all over the country and can have a great chat about which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars while discussing other favorite stories as well. Folks are often in costume at a con, dressed as some space adventurer or another, and I got to thinking what if they really WERE space adventurers having drinks and swapping stories?Cover Screaming Eagle

That’s when The Screaming Eagle started to take shape in my mind. A bar on a distant planet where space adventurers of all stripes came to have a brew and tell tales. Throw in a lost college kid from Portland, Oregon who needs to find his way and you’ve got the start of a hell of a story. I used the universe I’d already created for Star Run (lots of good material there) and I got typing. As I happened to be in Iraq at the time I started this project (2011), The Screaming Eagle ended up on a desert planet with an abandoned military base that the locals have turned into a starport. Over two hundred pages later (and a lot of re-writes) and I had a novel. Deron Douglas of Double Dragon Press was kind enough to make me an offer for it, and the rest is history.

My hat’s off to Spider Robinson and all the good science fiction writers who inspired me along the way. And thanks to all my readers, an author is nothing without an audience.

GM, fiction writer, what’s the difference?

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The short answer is there’s not much difference between a GM’s job and a writer’s. I was a Game Master a long time before I ever considered writing Tales of The Screaming Eagle. I learned what made a game exciting and fun, then took that information and put it to work in my writing. It taught me a lot and I’ve been quite successful so far. So here you are, a new GM or a beginning writer, and your struggling with how to put your story together. Where do you start?

The answer is simple; you start with heroes and villains.

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Heroes are actually the easy part, so I won’t say too much about them. As a GM you don’t even have to worry about creating the heroes, the players do that. They will diligently pore through the rule-books, roll dice, and even scribble a charming little illustration of their hero for you. All a GM has to do is take a few minutes to read the character sheets and that part is done. As a writer this job actually requires some effort on your part, but it’s not really that hard. Writers must determine who their protagonist is, what he/she is capable of, what his/her limitations are, and what the hero wants (fame, riches, power, love, whatever). If you ARE a writer and are reading this gaming website in the first place it’s safe to assume that, like me, you have a foot in each river. There is no reason that you can’t take a few moments to fill out a character sheet for your novel’s protagonist. Don’t have any role playing rule-books in your house? Easy fix,download Star Run off this site. No believable character is omnipotent. Weather in a novel or a role playing game, heroes are defined by their abilities, limitations and goals.

Remember star pilots make poor forest rangers, lumberjacks suck at space ship engineering, and atheists make terrible missionaries.

Now as to the villains. To be frank, they’re often more important to your story than the heroes. A friend of mine was telling me about some problems he was having coming up with the plot for his novel. He went on to tell me his writing method was to constantly ask himself’ “then what.” He’d start with the opening scene and then ask, “then what” to develop the next scene. Sound a little boring? It is because his question was extremely vague. He was frustrated because his story wasn’t going anywhere, and I can see why. The same problem can be encountered in a role playing game. The GM may have the character sheets memorized and read the rule-book from cover to cover, but the game goes nowhere because he’s always asking “then what” as he meanders with the players form one boring scene to another. To get things going, enter the villain!

Not only is your villain as real as your hero (abilities, limitations and motivations) but he provides all the drama your game or story requires. Your heroes may be in a World War II game and, even if they never meet him, Hitler is the villain. What are Hitler’s abilities? He has command of all the resources of Germany. What are Hitler’s limitations? He’s bat-shit crazy. What does Hitler want? The total domination of Europe under the Third Reich and the extermination of the Jews. Now that’s a villain (and unfortunately he was all too real), now what are your heroes going to do to stop him? As a GM or author, your job is to put your heroes square in the path of the villain’s plans and then give them a nudge forward. Now we have a story! Good vs. evil on a grand scale or small. Good resists evil, the villain becomes aware of the heroes and reacts, heroes move into position to block evil’s next move and the game is afoot! The plot moves forward until the villain is finally defeated or the heroes are ground to a pulp. Either way, you have a story!Me typing novel

A game or a novel, it makes no difference, both have plots, and a plot is the whirlpool created when the villain pushes one way and the heroes push in the other. In the end, one side will remain afloat and the other will go down the drain. You don’t have to think of every scene in advance. Just think like the characters and ask yourself, “what is she going to do about that?” Followed by, “She did THAT? Oh, hell no, he’s going to have to do THIS!” And so on until it’s game over.

Have fun!

Intresting things on Amazon

Every now and then I go to Amazon.com and type in my name to see how my books are doing. Tales of The Screaming Eagle, The Writer’s Guide to Adventurous Professions and How Beer Saved The World are all books I’ve written in whole or in part. They are available on many sites such as Books-A-Million and Double Dragon Press but Amazon is the biggest. When I go there, just these three usually pop right up, but this time there was something new.

Years ago I sold a print version of Star Run. The artwork wasn’t as good as the PDF I’m now giving away for free, but the rules were exactly the same. I sold quite a few of them for around eighteen bucks each, and the book got around. To my surprise someone is now selling it on Amazon for $57.00! Now that’s a lot of lettuce for a game you can download for free, well at least until September first.

star run Here’s the image that accompanies the Amazon listing. You’d think for fifty seven bucks they’d at least have better photography. Oh well, some of my early efforts didn’t look that great either. Still, I am pleased to think someone values Star Run so highly. I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the years and it feels good to spread the joy.

Also of news in the Amazon category, Tales of The Screaming Eagle is now on sale. The price has been reduced from $6.99 to $4.99, a savings of 29%. Of course I have no way of knowing how long this bargain will last; I don’t exactly call the shots at Amazon. Still, a deal is a deal and this looks like a good one.Tales

So there you have it. Two reasons to go to Amazon.com. One for a good laugh and the other to save a couple of bucks on a good science fiction novel. I’m happy to say Tales of The Screaming Eagle has received four customer reviews so far and has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Not bad for a first novel, if I do say so myself.

 

Science Fiction & Fantasy’s Nicest Authors

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I recently had the great pleasure of attending a book signing for authors D. Wallace Peach (far left) and Sheron Wood McCartha (black shirt in back). Both of these talented ladies were at Jan’s Paperbacks in Aloha, Oregon this past weekend.

For those of you who don’t know, D. Wallace Peach is the author of such great fantasy books as Sunwielder and Myths of The Mirror. These are fresh fantasy adventures that come alive on the page with her beautiful prose and fascinating scenarios. Sunweilder in particular is an amazing story about a soldier who must make every decision exactly right or absolutely everything he loves will be destroyed, but even in victory there is a cost. Frankly, I’m a science fiction fan in orientation, but I gladly jump the fence for her fantasy novels.

51eZzVXzupL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Sheron Wood McCartha is the author of over half a dozen science fiction novels that take place on a lost Earth colony world called Alysia. Her plots have more intrigue than a Tom Clancy book, and the situations her characters find themselves in are highly inventive. Past The Event Horizon is an especially good one involving space exploration and first contact. She beautifully past-the-event-horizon-cover_only-copyblends hard science fiction with space opera and is well worth the read.

As to Jan’s Paperbacks; it’s located smack next to a game store and how cool is that? Located right next to Rainy Day Games (a very appropriate name for a Portland gaming shop) at 18095 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, Beaverton, Oregon, it has a great collection of used science fiction and fantasy novels. Jan and her sister (also pictured above) are extremely friendly, and you always feel like a guest in their house. Jans-paperback-bookstore

I got my autographed copies and chatted with the writers for a good four hours or more. They are both great ladies and It made for a wonderful afternoon. This is why supporting local talent and local businesses is so important; the big guys may ignore you, but the good folk in your own hometown can be counted on to do you right.