Archive for February, 2013

40k takes too long

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like games. You might have noticed. Actually, let’s be fair, I love games. Another thing that I like doing is assembling models. Papercraft, or plastic, metal, glue and modelling clay. Yet another thing I like doing is painting models. So one might think (and I fall into this trap repeatedly) that Warhammer 40k or Warhammer Fantasy would be the perfect game for me. The problem is that when I’m spending literally one third of my waking hours playing a game that’s probably, usually too long. I mean sure, the occasional game of Axis and Allies or Civilization the Board Game or Diplomacy.

However something I’m putting this much time and money into, just to get to the point where I’m able to play a game, shouldn’t cost nearly this much of a time investment to play.  A couple hours for a game, sure that’s reasonable. I’m going to try and do some 1000 point “quick games” and we’ll see how that works out. Maybe with a bit more experience I can get the game times down.

Mary Todd, Vampire Murderator

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

twilight-Abraham-Lincoln-Vampire-hunter-movie-edward-cullen-269970

I was told that this movie was going to be bad. As in really bad. As in barely worth watching bad. In a way I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t actually terrible. In fact, while I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say it was a great movie, it was almost actually good. Yes, the basic premise (Spoilers are in the title so no whining) that the POTUS was secretly a Slayer is kind of ludicrous, but it IS in the title so it’s not like you’re coming into this expecting a documentary. Or if you are, you are very gullible and have some exceedingly devious friends.

Is the acting great? No. Of course not. This isn’t that kind of movie. It’s an action flick, with a shoddy premise. I do think it is a nice take on the Classic + Monsters mashup genre. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t watch the movie version of Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters. The fight scenes are pretty good. There are some nice nods towards actual history in addition to all of the intentional anachronisms. The stampede fight was actually pretty fantastic in both senses of the word. The train fight was silly and epic all at once.

So basically, don’t go into this with any expectations for quality. It’s about as intellectually stimulating as a Superhero movie. However it’s fun and certainly worth watching, especially at the price of free.

Monster Hearts – Session 1

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

monsterheartsA ghoul, a werewolf, and the chosen one walk into the bar… and then get kicked out because their fake IDs are crap.

So I just started running a game of Monsterhearts. This is a storygame, loosely based off of the Apocalypse World engine, but it’s a Teen Monster Sex Drama thing. I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly “my genre”, but at least it’s not fantasy. And here’s the wonderful, beautiful thing about AW hacks, I barely have to do anything. Unlike D&D or other traditional RPGs there are no rails for me to keep things on. In fact some of the best story happens when things don’t go as expected. My job is more to know when to switch scenes, to make sure everyone gets time in the lime-light. Keep things fun and interesting and complicated and messy.

Just thinking back, I can think of so many things I could have done better, but because the focus is on the players, not “my pet story” it doesn’t matter. I’d bet most of my “mistakes” went unnoticed. The other thing I love about this style game is the amount of prep required, which is to say barely any. There are a few things I plan to do before the next session, mainly come up with some lists. I want a nice list of a couple dozen names I can quickly nab for NPCs. Maybe a bunch of “descriptors” as well so instead of spending 45 seconds coming up w/ the name Theresa for a waitress, and spending so much time thinking of that that I didn’t even describe her, I can spend the same amount of time, cross out Theresa, Curly hair, Curvy and people will have a much better idea of who she is, even if she ends up only being a bit character.

My only disappointment is how excited I am. It’s been slightly over a day since our first session, and I’m already super excited about the next one. On a related note, our gaming group now has an official name I Podcast Magic Missile and we’re going to start blogging there as well as posting our Actual Plays. I may switch to 3 times a week here, and once or twice a week there, or find a way to crosspost. More info, and links coming once we get some content organized on there.

LPX2 Operation Purple Thunder

Monday, February 11th, 2013

April 23

Another rash of abduction sites has been reported. Why do they always come in threes, they must be hoping we don’t have the resources to deal with all three at the same time. Sadly they are right. The situations in Nigeria and India are both relatively calm, so we’ll let the local police enforcement deal with the two easy incursions. We’re going to Leon, Mexico. Our tactical dept. suggest this mission will be very difficult, as such we’re sending in our most experienced soldiers. Will, Laura H., Wendy, and Joanna. Even though James is more experienced, Caitlin is currently our the only soldier we have trained in Assault tactics and command has bumped her onto the mission of James.

xcom4

The incursion is taking place at a Paper factory in southern Leon. Will has been given some new tech, a scanner that basically gives him (and by relation the rest of the squad) an extra set of eyes. He moves up first and deploys the device in the employee parking lot. And it works, a pair of lifeforms are detected almost immediately, and even better don’t detect us in return!

The rest of the squad moves up carefully so as to avoid detection, but the distant trio of aliens are too far off for will to be confident of a shot and so holds his fire while the squad continues to move into better position.

A trio of the Jetpack equipped aliens is moving in a fenced off area, and Caitlin takes a show, blowing our cover and missing. Her second shot while also a miss flushes a trio of Sectoid that were hiding nearby. Laura and Joanna both fire, and Joanna claims the kill shot.

Wendy moves up and takes out one of the Jetpackers. One of the sectiods fires and misses her but hits Caitlin who panics, breaks cover and returns fire to no avail. Sadly one of the surviving Jetpackers takes the shot, and command reports a loss of vital signs. Laura also panics, but manages to maintain cover enough so that the fire she comes under leaves her unharmed.

Joanna keeps her cool, taking out one of the remaining x-rays from the jet pack squad, and then unleash a burst towards one of the Sectoids. In the face of the determined assault both aliens fall back. Will deploys his remaining Battle Scanner, detecting another pair of Sectoids. Laura regains her composure enough to move forwards and unload on one, but the extreme range is too much for her heavy MG. Joanna is completely empty and takes a moment to reload, while the rest of the squad moves forwards. Wendy kicks in the door and moves into the offices where the last Jetpacker has fled. She spots it and takes a shot but fails to connect, however it stupidly charges forward and she unloads the remainder of her clip into it.

Another pair of Sectoids is picked up on the Battle Scanner. How many aliens are there here? I guess Tactical wasn’t kidding when they said this would be very hard. Will takes his first shot of the mission, killing two aliens with a single head shot! Apparently the psychic link between two aliens can be fatal if disrupted violently. Sadly both Laura and Wendy come under fire, and both are hit. Laura remains undaunted, maybe trying to prover herself after her brief moment of panic, and moves up and returns fire but misses. Wendy falls back to reload.

The Sectoid moves up to try and flank Laura, and Will lines up a shot and puts it out of our misery. Joanna covers the offices while Laura and Wendy patch themselves up.

The squad has  moved in to clear the offices out, and a sneaky Sectoid busts through a side door to try and flank, only to be mowed down by Laura! Wendy runs up and finishes off the last Sectoid.

Our fallen now number two, and Caitlin’s name and record join Dave’s on the Memorial Wall.

Rk. Dave: 0 Kills; 1 Mission; 3/2/15

Sq. Caitlin: 3 Kills; 3 Missions; 4/23/15

 

You’re not the boss of me!

Friday, February 8th, 2013

This is page B1 of the Barbarian Story. This is your second life (the Troll Story ended poorly.) If you are confused go back to the start. If you want a different story make poor choices until you die or win.

You are not sure why the sight of Johnson fills you with such rage, but the edge of your vision tints red and your focus narrows to the slightly bedraggled, balding man standing in the door way of his office where as little as possible of the rain pouring down strikes him. Still unused to your new found strength, when you yank the axe out of your computer it ends up flying behind you, causing someone to emit a loud, brief shriek. However you don’t have time to fetch it, and besides Johnson doesn’t even appear to be armed. You leap over the low wall of your cubicle and into Cheryl’s, where-upon you knock over her filing cabinet, and land on her swivel chair. The falling cabinet clips the base of the chair, adding to it’s moment and sending you and your unlikely mount careening up the corridor. Behind you the cabinet crashes to the ground a  swirling explosion of papers provides a proper backdrop for your exit from the cubical farm proper, though it’d probably have been cooler looking if the blasted indoor rain wasn’t still continuing full force.

“Uh… Greg?” The brief look of recognition on the boss’s face flees like a cowardly foe who has been defeated in close combat. As you leap from your erstwhile mount (Cheryl’s chair), panic makes an appearance on the boss’s and he also flees, slamming the door to his office, and leaning heavily against it. A second later the rain shuts off, and the incessant siren finally ceases as well. Most of the Peasants have fled.

CHOICE (B1)3 He’s safe for the moment, I’ll go get my axe!

CHOICE (B1)4 Kick the door down, I shall not be delayed any further.

CHOICE (B1)5 Find something to break the huge plate-glass windows to Johnson’s office.

CHOICE (B1)6 I’ve got a better idea, it’s…

 

Telepathy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Right, so I’m not actually telepathic, but I suspect that if i had a super power that us the one that would leave me most happy. If we are just talking useful then teleportation would probably be the most powerful, or possibly invisibility.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that what ever power we are talking about is not crippled with side effects or granted by an evil genie. You don’t have to disrobe to turn invisible, what you are wearing and carrying disappears with you. Teleporting wouldn’t leave you dead in a mountain or all of your possessions behind. Similarly telepathy wouldn’t be always on, or only one way.

There are many uses to which you could put teleportation, both humanitarian and self aggrandizing . Where I able to teleport, setting up a permanent base on the Moon and/or Mars would probably be my top priority. Which of course is excellent because it fits the bill for altruism and greed at the same time… Saving the human race from global catastrophe would certainly qualify as altruistic, and being in three baskets instead of one would certainly be a worthwhile goal, and the opportunities for profiting from such a venture are basically limitless.

Invisibility doesn’t have as obvious uses for good, but certainly could allow you to steal anything and everything you could carry. You could be rich, maybe steal back precious art, save hostages but the altruistic possibilities are a bit limited and contrived.

Telepathy could certainly be used for nefarious or beneficent  purposes, stealing secrets or interrogation good guys or bad guys for fun and profit. That said, altruism nor wealth directly lead to happiness. On the other hand, I feel like being able to directly, and unambiguously communicate with other people could. So often I’ll talk to someone, and maybe, probably, kind of I think I know what they mean. And even if I act in a way that shows I the way I interpreted what they said obviously there is a high probability that either they’ll misunderstand me in return, or they’ll realize I misunderstood them but are too embarrassed to correct my misapprehension. On the third hand (which is an entirely different super power) maybe telepathy would only reveal the awful truth. If the majority of what people say is polite lies, would knowing, really knowing, that lead to happiness or would it instead cause sadness and depression?

Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what you think the most useful super powers would be for Greed, Altruism and Happiness… Which would you pick? Me I’d probably go for Teleportation, even though I doubt it would make me as happy as Telepathy, I would use it for the benefit of mankind, and hopefully find a measure of happiness in so doing. Or maybe I’d just steal everything (though I’m not sure where I’d put it).

Total Recall

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Total Recall (1990) Thailand

Note, this is a review of the 2012 reboot, not the Thailand release of the original. The picture is just there to confuse you.

Alternate Ending that we can all enjoy:

Dougie Houser and his wife and his girlfriend all get on VTOL craft before the “fall ship” falls and fly away and have an awesome threesome… that may just be a standard option at Rekall though.

So all told, there is a lot of dumb in this movie. Then again, the original was only way better (but also had it’s own share of dumb). I’ll admit, this has WAY better graphics, and some nice twists and turns. It’s certainly fun, you just have to turn your brain off before you even start. Basically, yeah, watch it, but don’t expect everything to be awesome forever, unless you only care about CGI, keen action scenes and triple breasted whores.

So watching this movie has made one thing clear, I need to create a Total Recall RPG. I’m already churning ideas over in my head but here’s the basics… I’ll use the basic Apocalypse World system, except each player will get 2-5 characters at the start and they’ll each secretly pick which is their “star” character. Individual characters will have various stats highlighted, and various moves available. XP is awarded as normal for doing “highlighted moves” but XP can be spent 1 for 1 to increase rolls. Missed a roll by 1, spend an XP. At the end of every scene the Story Moderator will grant 1 XP to someone for whatever reason they feel like.

Scenes will be framed, and time will be skipped, and ideally everyone will be kept on their toes. A meta-narrative will be developed based on the conjoined impetus of the players, but nothing definite will be defined before-hand. A single player will be the actual “main character” but who that is will be determined by the Story Moderator based on the story creation of the players. Bonus XP can be awarded for keeping things in theme.

Basically this will either end up being awesome or a travesty.

Eclipse

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

 

eclipse player board

It appears that Eclipse is a 4X board game that can be played in a reasonable amount of time? Who would have thought. It says 30 minutes per player on the tin, and assuming everyone knows how to play that seems easily achievable (if not better).

The technology “tree” is fairly nice, feels weighty and meaningful, but is still pretty simple. Of course I’m going to talk about the Techtree first, did you think I’d been replaced? Anyway, the “available tech” is limited. There are ~4 copies of each tech in the bag, and you pull out a few each turn (6 per turn + initial seed in a three player game). In a 5-6 player game some folks just aren’t going to get tech, but even in the three player game we played some of the tech didn’t come out in time. Every tech has 2 prices, Normal and Minimum. So something simple might cost 2/2 something more difficult might be 8/4. There are three general types of tech, and as you buy more of one, you get a discount on future ones, down to the minimum price.

There are three resources in the game, Money, Material and Science. Science gets you tech. Material builds you stuff, and you have to pay money each turn to keep your empire running. You can take as many actions as you want each turn, but each one uses one of your influence discs (two if you’re colonizing a new zone). The more discs you use, the higher your upkeep (in money) each turn. There are three kinds of planet in the game (four if you count wild) and each time you settle one your production of the appropriate type of resource increases. The board is hex based, and modular. Exploration can lead to possible fights with ancient races, and various bonuses.

bead case

Diplomacy basically lets you send a population cube to an opponent you are adjacent to (and they send one to you) make both of your races more productive, and giving a victory point. Winning wars lets you pull a number of victory tokens from the bag, but you only get to keep one of them. And even then you only have 4-5 spots which double as spots for diplomats. You can of course return the lowest victory token to the bag when you get a better one, but ending diplomacy isn’t so simple. And if you end it with a sneak attack you take the traitor token (worth -2 victory points) from whomever may have it.

The game looks way more complex then it is… there are lots of parts and initial setup takes extra long if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, but with a bit of proper pre-sorting it should be manageable. I’m going to use a bead box like the one pictured to the left (it was like $3-5 at Michaels) to hold everything, which should make setup a lot simpler.

I can’t wait to play this again!

LPX2 Operation Final Jester

Monday, February 4th, 2013

 

ohgodrun

April 9, 2015

Panic is rampant in Russia and France. The UK, India, Australia, Mexico and Argentina are all on high alert. Only 4 days remain before we are able to launch our next 2 satellites, hopefully we can get them up in time.

Canada has requested samples of the Nano-fiber vests we’ve developed, and offer to send a few of their best engineers in return. Assuming we can acquire the necessary materials, we will supply them with a couple.

April 20, 2015

Melbourne is under attack. Threat level is high, so we’re going to send in our most experienced soldiers: Lt. Joanna ‘Prototype’ will be leading the mission. Our Sergeants Will ‘Hex’ and Wendy ‘Stacks’, Laura H. has achieved the rank of Corporal but still hasn’t been given a nickname. James is no longer a Rookie, but this will be his second mission.

Considering how long it’s been since Australia has been at war, it is unsurprising that this military base is almost completely staffed by civilians. We’ll have to rescue as many as we can. At least the aliens attacked a target that was of little real tactical value. It’s not like tanks would do much good against their space ships.

Per standard protocol the squad moves up taking advantage of cover and keeping each other in sight. A pair of frightening new alien life forms are spotted by Will as he moves up into a sniping position, flushing from their hiding spots. They have four legs which end in claws, and a pair of terrifying arms. As they charged towards us James and Laura unloaded on them, but only Laura connected. They were momentarily distracted by a civilian, hopefully he’ll keep his head down as a hail of lead is about to be coming his way.

Joanna is the first to pull the trigger, spray bullets in a wide arc and hitting both x-rays, but killing neither.  James moves up and takes out the first one, and Laura fires from cover finishing off the second. The civilian remains unharmed. A pair of jet-pack equipped aliens emerge from the smoke further within the depot. Laura, Wendy and Will all take shots, but they are too far away, and the x-rays are able to get to cover unharmed. The screams of civilians can be heard in the distance. At least two are wounded or dead.

Laura reloads. Will puts one down with a single shot and Wendy moves up to try and draw a bead on the second. Wendy opens fire as it moves from cover and misses, but James follows her lead and manages to wing the alien before it moves further into cover. Judging from the sounds it has killed another civilian. Time is of essence!

James runs forward and empties his clip into the x-ray; it’s back explodes as it tries to retreat. The rest of the squad moves up to provide support. There is a brief respite as the squad approaches the administrative building, but as they get close another pair of the jet-packers emerge from the building. Wendy and Laura lay down covering fire, forcing them back into cover, and Laura puts one of them out of commission for good. James, Wendy and Laura all move up and unload on the remaining x-ray, but it has gone to ground and even though a few of Laura’s bullets connect it doesn’t actually expire. It returns fire at the sandbags that Laura and James are crouched behind, but it’s shots go wide. Joanna moves around and Flanks it, putting a few shots into it from the side where it can’t benefit from cover.

Final result, 4 civilian deaths, but 14 were saved. 6 aliens killed, and no injuries with our squad. Everyone besides Joanna has been promoted, and Laura has earned the nickname ‘Thunder’.

April 21, 2015

A medium sized UFO has been detected off the coast of Japan, but we have no interceptors in range. We’ll continue to track it as long as possible but there’s not much we can do.

 

You’re not from around here are you?

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Previous page (T11673). This is page T116737 of the Choose Your Own Damn Blog Post Adventure Story Thing, if you’re confused start at the first page of the Troll story.

You could laugh. “Hell no, I’m just … ” you start to say as you open your eyes and turn to look at the other occupant of the room. Your voice catches in your throat, and any trace of levity instantaneously evaporates. Calling the thing sitting in the chair in the corner of the room a person would be charitable at the best of times. It’s shape is vaguely humanoid, and a large blanket conceals most of it’s form. Like some illustrative anatomy tool in a doctor’s office, it’s flesh is semi transparent; bone and far too many teeth glint from within it’s face, tinted blue  by it’s gel like body.

As it stands the throw slides to the floor revealing it’s naked body through which you see more of it’s disturbing internal organs, as well as a second vertically aligned mouth in it’s chest, and six short tentacle like protuberances that end in hooked spikes around the 2 foot tall mouth. It also has large tentacles on which it stands, the bases of which are concealed by the crumpled bit of textile. “Ahh, then you must be dinner.” it says as it moves towards you. You desperately try to turn the door knob, but this door appears to lock from the inside.

You have died!

We have a ton of options:

  • We could go back one page, and choose differently.
  • We could go back to start and start the Barbarian or Wizard story.
  • We could go to any other page and make a different choice.

I’m going to give until Wednesday at 5pm to vote on this one, since there are so many more options. I’ve gone through and given each choice a unique id, so if you want to go back part way you can just pick CHOICE (T11)5 if for example you wanted to do the wall slide thing.

Later today I plan on going through and editing the choices to be more consistent with this numbering scheme, as well as putting “previous” links for easier navigation (done). I am also happy to take any suggestions on how to structure this better.