Archive for March, 2013


Wednesday, March 13th, 2013



Terry Pratchett may have Alzheimer’s, but thankfully that’s not stopping him from writing excellent books. In fact, if anything the quality keeps going up.  The Long Earth was one of the best books I’d read in a while, and Dodger doesn’t disappoint. The setting is London, approximately during the Victorian era, though there is a certain fantastical element to it, and some liberties are taken with historical accuracy. Really though it all works. The main character, whom the book is named after, is a Tosher. That is basically, someone who searches for lost coins, and other valuables in the sewers.

Dodger aids in the rescue of a young lady whose name we never learn (spoilers), encounters several famous personages such as (more spoilers) Dickens, Sweeney Todd, and more. There is a little bit of Pratchett’s well known humor, but not as much as I might have liked, and that is probably the only complaint I can levy against the book. Well, I suppose the brevity could be cause for complaint as well… but really the book ended right when it needed to. And with a nice lead-in to possible future sequels.

If you like Terry Pratchett, it’s probably already on your list. If you like historical fiction, and don’t mind a book that isn’t perfectly historically accurate this also would be a good bet.

Puzzle Strike

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

puzzle strikePuzzle Strike: Bag of chips is a deck building game. Except instead of cards, you use “poker” chips. The nice thing about this is that you don’t really have to shuffle, instead you just toss them all into the bag and shake. This game simulates a puzzle game (that doesn’t actually exist) that simulates a fighting game (that also doesn’t exist.) If you’ve played Super Puzzle Fighter you know what’s what. If not, imagine a mix of bejeweled and tetris as a multiplayer game. You can combine gems, and then crash them to send them over to other players.

At it’s heart though, this is still a deck building game. You buy chips, they can give you various actions, or let you trash chips from your “deck”, or you can buy better money. There’s a few dozen different possible piles of chips, so every game is different.
One key thing that is unique about this game is that each player’s starting deck is dependent on what “character” they pick to play. So each starting deck is 3 unique chips, a crash gem (used to send crap to other players) and 6 $1 gems.

Once you know what you’re doing, the game is pretty quick. The only complaints I have are that it can only support 4 players at a time. Of course with an extra dice bag, we could probably do a bigger game. The other complaint is that it can be confusing to keep your hand/in play/discard separate from your gem piles. Apparently the 3rd edition of this game does resolve that issue, but I picked up the first edition at a con for half off, so can’t really complain. In fact, what I may do, given time is make a bunch of them, one for each character, maybe even put a little “Agrajag’s playstyle is:” blurb on each of them to help new players pick.

Sea Dracula

Monday, March 11th, 2013



No Let’s play today, instead a quick note, a Sea Dracula kickstarter only needs a few hundred dollars more to hit a stretch goal where Vincent Baker will create a custom playbook for Apocalypse World. I strongly urge you, if you can spare a few bucks, to support this project! Please, think of the dolphins in mecha suits!

If you don’t know, Sea Dracula is a Role-Playing game where you play lawyers in Animal Town trying to prove your case. The conflict resolution mechanic is a Dance Off.

Press I for Inventory

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Previous Page (B1474). This is page B14748 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 excellent choices until you win.

You slow you pace as check your clothes. Shirt: Torn and useless. You peel it off, wad it up and stuff it in a hollow log where it won’t likely be seen by potential pursuers. Pants, too tight, but you do also have a fancy belt, which when loosened resolves most of the problem. The pockets of the pants take a bit of investigating, there are quite a few, and one of them even has a pocket inside it. Crazy. One pocket has a small double folded bit of leather that has some assorted paper, as well as a multitude of small cards. One of them even has what looks like a picture of yourself on it. There are also a pair of keys on short chains within the wallet. You return it to a back pocket and discover a small device of some interest indeed! It is a red oblong, but with a variety of metal pieces, a bit of prying and you discover it can turn into a knife, or an eye auger. There are a half dozen other possible configurations, but most of them don’t seem useful. Sadly the blade is too small to be useful in combat, but it seems like it could be useful in a bunch of less immediately threatening situations.

You also find on of the shiny black magic boxes you saw the peasants with earlier. On closer examination it is in cased in grayish leather with a weird symbol on one side. The other side is shiny black and a small light blinks blue and purple at you. Shaking it does little and so you return it to your pocket to examine later. You also find a few scraps of paper with writing that looks familiar, possibly being your own hand, yet the meaning of the glyphs eludes you. Though distressing, maybe if you have a chance to examine them under better lighting and without tramping through a forest you will be able to recall their meaning. Finally you find a short black cord, also of the strange leather-like substance that so much else is made of. It is actually Y shaped, one end ending in a banded metal stud, the others in red bulbs that look kind of like mushrooms. The purpose of this seems esoteric, but in a pinch you could probably use it as a garrote.

Finally you arrive at a small rock outcropping that peaks out from the forest, there is a fair amount of brush though, and as you guessed when you spotted it before you fled into the woods, it provides excellent cover from which to spy on whatever beast has lurched in to consume or avenge the corpse of the Boss. The black stone road looks almost like a river from up here, 3 of the metal boxes are speeding down, lights on their tops flashing. Two are small like the ones were the peasants are gathered, except painted black and white. The third is larger, and is white and red. They scream like a dying cat as they come to a stop and then the braying ceases. Moments later several people emerge from the boxes leading you to the conclusion that they are some sort of carriage, though no beast pulls them that you can see.

Suddenly you feel a bug moving vigorously in one of your pockets. You slap your leg, and then reach in to try and get rid of it, but can’t find any evidence of it. No squished gore, but the contents of your pocket lie on the ground and the magic box lights up and shivers as if it were alive.

CHOICE (B14748)1 Whatever magic is in the box is probably no good. Crush it with my boot-heel and continue to watch the scene below.

CHOICE (B14748)2 Magic can be powerful. I’ll investigate it. If I can master it, who knows what wonders may be mine.

CHOICE (B14748)3 This is a foul sign. I’ll leave the evil box on the ground and return to the forest.


Ahh, that was much better.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

So I gave up on the 40k campaign. As much as I wanted to like it, the main problem is that the game is terribly balanced. I was kind of looking forwards to Fantasy Fight Club (or whatever it’s called) which is a kind of minimalist hero fight multi-match. It looks like it won’t be happening Saturday though as the organizer is going to be missing the first one.

However without having to worry about the 40k campaign, I was able to get a few board games in (a little King of Tokyo, some Great Heartland Trucking Company (review coming soon), and a game of Puzzle Strike (review coming soon)). I even got a minuscule bit of painting done. Good enough.

Harry Potter and the Tedious Happenings

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013


A big problem I had with all of the Harry Potter books, was the first third of every one of them (besides the first) was this tedious chore to get through, where Harry is stuck with the ridiculous muggle foster parents. First off they weren’t believable. I feel like they were in fact less believable than all the wizards and spells and pseudo latin strewn throughout the books. At least with the magic I was able to maintain suspension of disbelief. The normals? Nope.

Maybe, The Casual Vacancy has the same issue, where the first third is crap, but then the rest of the book is awesome enough to make up for it. I don’t know, because I got my hands on the newest Terry Pratchett Book (Dodger), and TCV is going back to the Library tomorrow. There’s sadly a huge list for this, but not one for Dodger, and I’m not sure where the justice is in that, because Dodger is far more entertaining, engaging and real seeming then this thing.

Review in summery: Too Boring, Didn’t Read!

X-Wing Miniatures

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013



So I’m basically in love with the X-Wing Minis game. I really wish I’d gotten it earlier, on the other hand, there is now more variety in ships than I can actually afford. Even if you’re not big on Miniatures gaming, this might still have some appeal. A turn basically consists of 3 parts. First you decide how each of your ships is going to move. You do this via a special wheel that you secretly set for each of your ships. This has things on it like Hard Turn 1 left, or Soft Right 3, or 4 Straight, etc. Different ships have different movement options, and some moves are harder or easier than others. Once everyone has set their moves, every ship moves, and then can take an action (like Lock On, or Barrel Roll, and more, again they vary by ship). Once that’s done every ship fires. Then you do it again, until all ships on a side are blown up, or the mission (there are several missions) is accomplished.

I’m already thinking about making a B5 Mod for this game, and possibly BSG. Space Dog-fighting is one of my favorites, so to see something super quick and easy is really nice. That said, this does also kind of make me want to pull out all of my old Silent Death stuff and try and get that going again.

Operation Brutal Mother

Monday, March 4th, 2013

May 15, 2015


The US, Argentina and Brazil are still experiencing high levels of panic. We need more satellites uplinks, but don’t have the funds to build the facilities. We may have to sell of some of the alien junk to get them before things fall apart in North America.

An incursion has been reported in Ottawa, and the Canadian Government is offering top dollar for us to deal with it. Will lead this mission and has selected Adam, Matthew H., Billy, Patrick and Kevin to accompany him. Only Kevin has not been promoted to Squaddie. Command has dubbed this mission Operation Brutal Mother, hopefully they don’t know something they’re not telling us.

Someone suggests hacking the sign to read Dead Aliens Ahead, but no one will fess up as to who actually said it. I suspect Matthew. Adam is the first to spot enemies, a pair of Floaters. Patrick and Kevin unload on it, and both hit, but Kevin claims the killshot. Billy moves up to take down the remaining Floater, and flushes a trio of the heavily armored brutes that we capture a live specimen of. Will takes one out with a headshot from the ramp of the SkyRanger. Matthew and Adam both fire at a second one, but only Adam connects, and most of the bullets are deflected by the heavy armor these beasts wear. Billy switches targets, and tries to finish it off, but the brute manages to dodge behind a car, then charges forward wounding Billy badly before ducking behind another car.

Will, still not having taken a single step, fires and the brute drops. Matthew moves up and fires at the remaining brute but misses. Kevin has better luck, though it doesn’t go down. Patrick leaves cover to finish it off, and succeeds, but the second Floater (who had fled earlier) is still out there somewhere. Adam moves up and fixes up Billy’s wounds as best he can, but he’s still a few breathes shy of fit.

Billy moves up and reacquires sight on the Floater, his shot goes wide, but Will, still unmoving, fires and finishes the floater off. The squad repositions slightly and reloads. Will finally moves a little closer and reloads as well. The moment of respite lasts as the squad continues down the street, until another pair of Floaters burst from cover at long range. Adam and Billy both take shots, but miss due to the long range. The entire squad is ready and unloads on the aliens, Adam wings one, Billy the other, and then Will killsteals the one Billy hit.

The wounded one jumps right in front of Matthew, and manages to miss him from 10 feet away. Matthew takes it down with ease. As the squad moves up again, Adam spots 3 more Floaters. Will snipes one, Patrick drops some smoke for cover and Adam takes out the second. The third one misses Matthew, but does set the car he’s hiding behind on fire. Billy moves up and finishes off the last Floater, and we have another successful mission, this time with only one injury!


The Better Part of Valor, and all that.

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Previous Page (B147). This is page B1474 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 excellent choices until you win.

So much almost seems familiar, yet whatever sorcery has brought you to this fell place masks all but the most occasional feelings as to the true nature of your surroundings. Your trophy stashed safely in one of your pockets (you’ve noticed you have two at least, though neither are secret) you lope away into the nearby forest. A low wire fence gives you some difficulty, and you tear your pants further crossing, but once out of sight of the peasants you range north to find a vantage point to watch the proceedings.

This forest is pretty thin, maybe it belongs to a King or Duke, for there is little in the way of underbrush, and movement is easy. You might be able to find a suitable staff or club with a bit of searching. Your own possessions are also a bit of a mystery to you, so it might be worth investigating further. You also hear the sound of running water deeper in the forest to the East.

You have a lot of options this time.

CHOICE (B1474)5c Look for a hefty piece of wood I could use as a club while I move to a new vantage point.

CHOICE (B1474)5s Look for a stout piece of wood I could use as a staff while I move to a new vantage point.

CHOICE (B1474)6c Forget the terrible beast and head towards the water, looking for a hefty piece of wood as I go.

CHOICE (B1474)6s Forget the terrible beast and head towards the water, looking for a stout piece of wood as I go.

CHOICE (B1474)7c Once out of sight, I’ll take stock of what I have and find something hefty to defend myself with.

CHOICE (B1474)7s Once out of sight, I’ll take stock of what I have and find something stout to defend myself with.

CHOICE (B1474) 8 I’ll take stock of what I have while I move to a new vantage point.

CHOICE (B1474)9 I’ll head towards the water while I take stock of what I have.