Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Doctor will see you now

At some point I am going to rewrite this but...?

Woo so I am just going to say that while not everything didn't quite work out as planned life wise, I am doing pretty amazingly well for myself. Like take Thursday for example. Thursday I spent the afternoon playing Malifaux, then I ate with some friends, then I got to play two rip roaring games of Dominion, then a game of Cosmic Encounters. I got to do more gaming in one day than most people in my hobby could hope to do in a month. Then the next evening I got to play Fiasco. Fiasco is one of the most amazing things I have ever played and that will get its own blog post when I have more time to write.

So I want to write a bit about Malifaux because I finally got to use McMourning. The good doctor indeed! He is a murder machine! One of the tacticas I read regarding how to use McMourning is you use your crew to just tie up your oppoents figgures until you get around to moving McMourning over and murdering whatever figure in question. It is true, McMourning is capable of killing just about every figure in the game without much of a problem, with the exception of Lillith who is a bitch. Over the course of the game McMourning killed three Ice Gamins, 1 December Accolytie, and one Death Martial. I contributed to over 75% of all the deaths that happened over the course of the game and they were all commited by one model.

While I tend to favor meleetastic glass cannon masters like the Viktorias, The Dreamer, and now McMourning, McMourning has the odd distinction of being unusually unmanuverable. He doesn't companion with anyone and he can't fly or airdrop his entire crew ontop of someone who annoys you. So he kinda has to hoof it. As a result I think I am going to need to change his crew up. Currently I have a nurse, 2 Crookedmen, 2 Punk zombies, Sabastian, and two necropunks, and I am thinking I need to change something out for an UndeadRider. The undeadrider is more or less one of the games few indestructable tank units, it is hard to wound and it can heal two wounds every turn. It is nearly unstoppable and it is the perfect companion for McMourning. Oh yeah the other thing is that it is critical that McMourning keeps moving. As long as he is killing something he stays alive. When he stops he becomes immeadiatly in danger of death which is cool.

Monday, July 18, 2011

RPGs Pdfs and Trying this a fucking gain.

I swear to god I don't write for like a month and all the sudden my brain forgets how to or something like that. I tried writting this blog post yesterday and I ended up deleting it in disgust. It was that bad. I've written some seriously terrible shit on here too but it was just awefull. My thoughts were disorganized, my sentences didn't flow, and I felt like I was writing through and intermediary. It was bad. I don't give up though. Well not easily anyway. SO here we are again.

This time with a fresh approach.

The role playing industry is one of those things that leaves me in a near constant state of concern. I mean it is a fringe hobby that has the most ass backwards buisness model the world has ever seen. I mean take a look at it. One person buys 1 to 3 core books nessisary to play. Then he amasses 2-5 friends and they use those one to three core books near infininetly limited only by the game masters imagination. There is no reason for the players to own the core books or any books for that matter, and often times they don't bother buying into the game. So for every one book sale you manage to entertain a number of other people who don't contribute to the companies bottom line. There is also the fact that rpg companies are run by folks. By that I mean they often times don't have buisness degrees, or training, or any sense of advertising, and it shows in almost every aspect of the hobby. Sometimes sucessful companies don't fold but rather they self destruct from the inside. It is kinda stressful.

Over the past 10 years or so Roleplaying games have made one single tremendous change, and that is that they embraced the pdf format. I say ten years because while drive thru rpg hasn't been around or relavent for that long the piracy scene has, as people sat there in their houses painstakingly scanning each and every page of their rule books. From such humble beginnings pdf has become an ubiquitous force in gaming. This is both good and bad.

It is good in that it lets long out of print books be availible for sale. There were tears of joy when whitewolf dumped its entire line onto Drive Thru's site allowing long time fans to round out their Wraith or Channgeling collections. It has become an incredible boon to independent publishers as the pdf format allows them to publish without having to stress about printer costs. There are many indie games that only print books for the convension seasons, relying the rest of the year on PDF sales. Lastly, it allows dead games to remain alive. More on this later.

The problem is that many game companies don't really seem to know what to do with PDF files or how to best utilize them. I'm going to use two examples, one doing it right and one doing it wrong because that makes my lift easier. The company doing it right is Nightfall games the oweners of SLA Industies. SLA has been out of print throughout most of its excistence. It bounces from publisher to publisher finding purchase only to have the publisher go under or catch fire, or decide they wanna be more "family friendly" (suck a dick wizards of the coast). Now they have a publisher and they are working on a new core book that will modernize the game mechanics and give an update to the setting. Fans await with baited breath. To help the wait go by easier they have done two very smart things. They have released the core rule book for free. Right now you can go to drivethru or rpgnow and download the core book for free. Since there isn't a core book in print this is a lifesaver in terms of keeping the game alive and interesting new comers. The other smart thing they are doing is releasing data packets. They are little packets of official game material that they charge about three bucks for that you can get via pdf. They range from 3-11 pages, and they are professionally laid out with some very attractive artwork. They incorparate a range of new ideas and generally they are slick little products that lets people know that the game is still alive, there is stuff coming out for it, it is being worked on, and you don't need to have patients because we are handing you a cookie now.

By contrast Eclipse Phase is doing it wrong. They like SLA has offered their rulebook for free. However, unlike SLA their main rulebook is currently in print. The idea is that you can look at the rule book in pdf form and if you like it you can either buy the pdf or print version of the book. I love this book. So I want it. I want it right now. The problem is that the current print run ran out so I have to wait until more show up. Now here is the important part. This is a $50 book. It isn't something I can just buy, it is the price of a video game or several other things I want. See if you are going to rely on print sales then the book MUST be kept in print. By contrast A/State, Obsidian, and SLA Industries are all small print rpgs that were all active at roughly the same time, and they were all in print either before or at the start of the pdf invasion. At the time of this writting I could go and order all three of these books and most of the supliments at bargin prices. I did in fact they are on their way in the mail as we speak. This is because when these games came out having a stock was important. The more we move twords pdfs the more this is going to change, and that's fine. However, they are making it phyically impossible for me to hand them money in exhange for a product.

I am low on time. So the last point I would like to make is that suppliments and the like are much more suited to pdf files than main rule books. The pdf readers haven't advanced to a point where flipping between multiple sections in different chapters or across different books is convienent. As a result making a charecter off of a pdf file ranges from annoying to nightmarish as you have to navigate through a book that tries its best to be annoying to navigate through. This is paticularly true of the Eclipse Phase book which is so graphic heavy that it chugs most netbooks whereas the SLA data sheets are small compact peices of information that are easily accessable and do not need to be frequently referenced.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Short Butt Sweet

Okay so between migains, me fucking up my teeth, and recovering from all of that I have had a hard time getting my Ann Rand writting project underway. Last night I was finally able to sit down and concentrate enough to get some reading done on the book, and I am starting to think that an essay every hundred pages might be a little bit to over ambitious, mostly because not a whole fuck of a lot happens in the book. Coming off of something like The Instructions which practically screams "WRITE ABOUT ME ALL THE FUCKING TIME" it is a little bit jarring. Tracing my though process back I realize now that I am doing this project because of the Instructions and I believed that Atlas Shrugged could handle an essay every 100 pages. However, I am starting to have my doubts. I can't tell if it is because I've had the book's superficial message hammered into me by an angry public or because the book itself is superficial but 85 pages in and not a whole lot is going on.

I have a really cool line on the role of the artist in Rand's vision and why her intelectual base is so keen on keeping her alive through her work instead of letting her work speak for itself, and that's good. But I would be hard pressed to figure out what else I would write about that is clever. Then again this is a project that is going to get steadily easier the more I read because I am going to have more material to work with it. After all there is her strange obession with age, and the way she interacts with people on different levels of employment. Both of these things will yield interesting results as I continue to track them over the course of the novel. I think the age thing will bare fruit in 200 pages or so, whereas the different employment levels thing might be ready to go as early as the second essay. All in all I find the subject matter interesting enough to tuff it out with.

The other thing I want to quickly comment on is her use of language. It reads like a romance novel, with swooping airy descriptions of things and lots of time spent on physical bodies and how they move and operate. There is also a complete lack of subtlety in the way the characters approach any given situation which I think it more part of the point rather than a flaw of the writting. I'll decide in a bit. For now my lunch is over and I have to go back to slinging dishes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It is Malifaux season again!

Gencon is always a big deal for gaming and with it right around the corner I find myself bracing for impact as I know that my bank account will be negatively affected. The biggest culprit is going to be Malifaux which is acceptable to me, I like Malifaux. And I mean look at this shit:

Yeah I mean how could I not want that. I am a huge fan of cleavage and there is just something about a dead Lady J that makes me want this faster and harder than any one person reasonably should. And hey it is only 50 bucks, look at all of this and due to the limited nature of this offer I can't see how I will say no. It is going to happen. As these little gems of minatures are being released the much anticipated terraclips will be hitting the shelves. Terraclips are expensive there is no beating around the bush in that regard. However, they are beautifully made products that are worth the money it takes to get them. One of the most disapointing things about Malifaux for me is my complete inability to get terrain together. I just have no where in my house to really work on it, and even if I did I don't have the mechanical ability or cash to do so. So I will spend a lot of money on terraclips because they look ten times better than anything I could hope to make on my own.

So there is 150 monies more or less right there on the table ready to be spent and...I just realized that I've only played Malifaux once all summer. This disapoints me. I was going to put out a call to see if anyone would want to play with me on Thursday but James is getting sick and Cory seems to be MIA. Part of the problem is that we lack a place to play. Hopefully that will be resolved come Fall when the schools commons return to its 24 hour a day status. Otherwise we are gonna have to figgure something out because I love the game and I want to keep playing it, right now, very much so instead of working.

This is especially true because the new book will be hitting the world come Gencon with the much anticipated Avatars and puppet wars will be released. I want both of these things but I also want to be able to use/play with all of these things. I mean I spent all that money on McMourning and I only got to use him once and I got my ass kicked which is saddening.

Oh to that end I just reminded myself that I need to grab a Viktorias crew. James pulled a me and lost all of his figgures which means I am pretty much going back to being to sole provider of stuff to play with. This is cool because I have 4 crews. The problem is that I have Lillith, Dreamer/Lord Chompy Bits, Leviticus, and McMourning most of them are not exactly the most user friendly crews out there so what happens is that I get my ass kicked by Lillith. In fact I have only used Lillith once. The rest of the time she has been used against me and I gotta say she really is a fucking unstoppable force. It is distressing. I used my Mcmorning crew to more or less carve up 2.5 other crews then all the sudden lillith shows up rips through everything I have on the table, McMourning included, and then sweeps around to slaughter Hamlin like the dog he is. Granted my partner could of been slightly more helpful during all of this but whatever. The Viktorias are one of my favorite masters with a fun crew and they are easy enough for an infrequent player to pick up and use, unlike Leviticus who is made of pain in the ass.

In short I hope to be able to play more. I want to use my Undead/Hooded Rider tag team to butcher my friends as Leviticus pops his enemies like teenage pimples, I want to watch as Lillith cuts a bloody swath through my opponents, and I want to cheer GAMBLE FOR YOUR LIFE as the little satanic oogie boogie men bare down on my opponents. Hopefully soon and more often ne?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Lord of the Rings LCG!

I has it. I really want to be working on my first Ann Rand essay but my theory book is in the car and it weighs 2000 pounds. My backpack already weighs 2000 pounds so this is not a good combination. I need to clean it out again to make room. In fact the whole reason why I haven't gotten started is that my theory book and Atlas Shrugged never seem to end up in the same place at the same time. That will change either tonight or tomarrow night depending on how I feel and what I am going to do. The nice thing is that my migrain ended early enough yesterday so that I could get 10.5 hours of sleep after some nice extended relaxation. So that's good. The migrain wasn't even that bad it was more the timing and the complete lack of sleep.

Oh well moving on past general project reports I now own the Lord of the Rings LCG! Dadada bannana euclidian cow. Sorry surrealist humor. WHICH IS FUCKING HILARIOUS. I like the game. Actually, it is a pretty highly impressive package which is something you generally come to expect from Fantasy Flight games. It is why all their games are so fucking expensive. Its funny cause when I bought Kill Dr. Lucky I was expecting high quality art, nice thick charecter cards, heavy glossy card stock for the deck, and it wasn't what I got. It is a fine game with perfectly servicable components but it is no FFG game. Then again I either have FFG games, Dominion, or Agricola which has all wooden components so I can see how I've become a little spoiled. Then again Kill Dr. Lucky cost ten monies less than Cosmic Encounters and it is just as loved, though I doubt it will be as enduring. However, I digress. The Lord of the Rings LCG is good.

That's all there is to say really.

Okay well no there is more. This is FFG's 4th LCG and it really shows in terms of design, complexity, and potential longevity. As I look through the various decks, and the rules and can't help but wish that they would violently reboot the Call of the Cthullu LCG into a cooperative LCG styled after the LOTAR card game. SO basically it could be like travel Arkham Horror. This would be oh so nice. However, I don't think it would happen and for the most part I am perfectly happy with the game as is. Except for the setting. I mean why Lord of the Rings? LOTAR fans are so bitchy, about everything. Good god the forums are nothing but a sea of complaints, where is frodo, how come I can't go to mount doom, the game is to hard, the game is to easy, womp womp womp. SO BITCHY. Why not cater to a grateful fan base, like Shadowrun fans. That game would be amazing! Like just leave it pretty much exactly how it is and everyone would be.

Or even a more generic fantasy world where you can branch out whereever and how ever you want. Either way. We are stuck with Lord of the Rings settings and that is okay, looking ahead at the little monthly packs and I can see that they are going to be keeping up with a wide variety of quests as well as new cards for the decks. I think it is very smart to take on the Warmatchine strategy where you have only a few factions but the way each of the factions change drastically based on what heroes you select. That's cool and I am excited and I am mostly out of time.