Saturday, August 16, 2014

| Hello Xander

Welcome Em Ay Tee Tee. Great to see you on the blog. We talk about pretty much everything here. From minis, board games, video games and RPGs to politics, day to day bull shit or any other random life crap. Pretty much all of it is bullshit. We kind post in fits and starts so check the page often to see what the talk of the town is. And by talk of the town, I mean random noise from a bunch of nerds.

The missus and I are headed to Sausalito to go kayaking today. Should be a lot of fun. No photos though. Not taking my gear in the bay knowing my ass could end up in it :( Times like this it would be nice to have a waterproof camera. Oh well.

eLzar, GIMP drove me up the wall. I tried using it a couple of times and the controls and menu just seemed so oddly organized. Never give programmers the power to control UI. They will make you cry every time. Not that PS doesn't have its idiosyncrasies, but have used it since PS 2.5, so I followed its evolution over the past 20 years.

D>M>

Friday, August 15, 2014

| OMG

A) I figured out the whole GIMP think, now I just need a picture of Xander...

B) Star Wars Imperial Assault

| That's Em Ay Tee Tee

... you know, the most prolific painter of all time based out of SF?  The other guy with the huge Ogre game that he hates?  You know, that guy?

PS For the life of me, I cannot get GIMP to work the way I used to get Photoshop to work.  I CANNOT set a canvas size, say 60x60px and then take a larger image and shrink it down so that only the part I want shows in the canvas.  It used to be SO EASY in PS; I would set my canvas, then grab the image and I think holding Ctrl, I would mousewheel down and the image would shrink and I could get all the Action Team faces in a nice little canvas, all the same size, and cropped all awesome-syle. Until I can figure that out, EmAyTeeTee might just be a red x, or some other placeholder I upload...

So mad...

Yo!  Someone sent me this invitation to some blog.  Do I get to brag about my toy soldiers here or what?  Well.  Your toy soldiers, mostly.  But I'm painting 'em!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

| {Clap Clap}

You, sir win the bon mot of the day.  So much truth in that.

Monday, August 11, 2014

And I like that overlap of ages. They might as well have said " looking for gals ages
Barely-18 to 100yo+, dead or alive
And even marriages.... Surely the email looking for guys is just lost in the email.

| From the latest GenCon email:

Speed Daters Needed
Are you looking to make a connection at Gen Con 2014? The Speed Dating events need women in the21-35 and 30-45 age groups! Speed Dating at Gen Con has produced many relationships and even marriages! Participants will have the chance to win two promo passes for Gen Con 2015, so if you're an eligible female, sign up! Where better to meet like-minded individuals than The Best Four Days in Gaming™?

| Also

You're the one who talked me into keeping AHQ, so we've definitely got to play that before anything else.

| Way more than you want to read about Descent

Descent could be an enjoyable game, but it was mentally taxing since you constantly had to worry about mini placement to prevent spawns, and also were always doing fiddly math calculations based on the results of your massive dice pools then applying a zillion modifiers. Also, its Overlord victory conditions were designed around stalling the game as long as possible to run the players out of VP. Combined with the extremely long playtime (around 5-6 hours!), it could exact a pretty harsh toll on the old mind-grapes.

It really came into its own with the campaign expansion, which made three especially good changes for the game:

- Starting campaign characters were WAY simpler than starting vanilla Descent characters. Towards the end of the campaign, things got complicated again, but by then, you felt you'd earned it.
- The randomized dungeon levels were short (45 minutes-1 hour per level), so you could play 2-3 of those and stop when people's brains were fried.
- The campaign framework itself, which gave everyone a map to cruise around on, towns to buy things in, and the overlord little armies to move around on the map to raze towns and harass the PCs with.

We actually got through a whole campaign (this is the primary benefit of pulling in non-Action Team members), and while a couple of the sessions were hilariously aggravating for the players, overall it was a really fun experience. I do feel a little bad for my Overlord in the final fight. The players found a late-game broken combo where basically they rigged the final fight so that my badass dragon really couldn't attack them at all. It resulted in a pretty savage beat down, but I was dicking with them so mercilessly throughout the campaign that I think they earned it.

Descent 2nd ed is a mixed bag. It's much more streamlined, and uses a comparable experience system out of the box so you start with simplified version of the campaign framework out of the box, but it doesn't include the things I really liked, which were the randomized dungeons and overworld map minigame. They also really toned down the loot grabbing which was a big part of the fun.

The interesting thing is they recently released a solo/coop adventure for it through POD. Hopefully they're testing the waters for a full coop expansion. I could see getting back into it that way.

But for now, I don't own any of that shit so it's all dead to me!

| Marketing

I think the "play with your family/friends/gaming group" is more of a marketing ploy by Mantic to make the game more approachable via Kickstarter.  Not everyone who uses KS is a nerd and some folks might be swayed by the 'play with gramma' angle vs just super-nerd pitching.

At least I hope I'm right and you're wrong :)  It is the same guy who designed Deadzone so I suspect there will be some pretty good meat to the game, and the alpha rules are out, and Mantic was pretty good about listening to tester/player feedback with Deadzone so if the community find any holes or decides the who thing is shit, I would hope Mantic would make the appropriate changes/tweaks, but in your defense jr0n, the AI rules/deck for Deadzone still hasn't been shipped so maybe this guy is teh sux0rz at AI driven stuff.

And in defense of a more simpler game, a la Warhammer Quest, I'm in!  I like having fun and drinking beer at the same time so something less Descent-y and more WQ-y I'm a fan of.
The Mantic games have been pretty cool and this looks pretty. That said, I'm deeply suspicious about it being designed for double duty as an oppositional (Descent-style) game as well as a purely cooperative (WHQ-style) game. It's hard enough to design one good game, so I suspect one aspect or the other will suffer. And I suspect it will be the co-op side, since good co-op dungeon crawls seem to be fiendishly hard to design (see the almost total lack of contenders after WHQ [also, see how the language around co-op is, "play it with your kids!", ie, "this shit will be watered down!"]).

Sooooo, that leads me to believe I'm better off saving my money and just breaking out the Dwaven Forge/tons of minis I already have/Mythic when it's time for co-op dungeon crawling.

| Kickstarter Boner

The Dwarf King's Quest, by Mantic Games

These guys are pumping out some radicool stuff that is basically picking over the bones of discarded Games Workshop IP, and rightly so (Necromunda = Deadzone, Blood Bowl = Dreadball).  Essentially, this is the Warhammer Quest IP and it is looking rad!  I was in on day 1, though I missed the early bird because it sold out in like 4 minutes or something!

Anyway, they keep hitting stretch goals, adding add-ons and generally making it sexier by the minute a la Deadzone.  When it's all done and said, I'll likely be in for a total of $150 - $175, but SO MUCH SEXY!!

| tv time

It was great seeing you and your family, Enoto!

I will start up an email chain about your indecent proposal, Elzar. I think there's a BILLION things to address before digging into something like that, but you know me, it sounds like a potentially rad idea!

MOVIE CORNER

Watched a bunch of shit this past week over on demand, so here's some quick reviews:

They Came Together: From the guys who did one of my favorites, Wet Hot American Summer, and shows like Children's Hospital, it's a romantic comedy spoof. It's borderline Airplane-style at times, although not quite as gonzo. We liked it. I feel like it could have been better, but I don't know exactly how.

Snowpiercer: This one was weird(critics LOVED it, which I don't totally follow). It's the first English-language film from a well-known Korean director starring the guy from Captain America. It's the future, and everyone lives on this one train that keeps circling the world because outside is an ice age and you'll die out there. The back of the train is poor people, rich people in the front. Totally has a BioShock vibe to it that's pretty cool and there are a couple of great action set-pieces. Why's it weird? The tone is hard to pin-down. There's a lot of humor and a lot of dark Brazil/12 Monkeys-like dystopia stuff. I guess that balancing act didn't quite work for me. But, I think it's totally worth watching and it's got this interesting off-kilter political stance that was different and kind of refreshing. Not really a "feel-good" movie, but whatever, some dark sci-fi is needed sometimes.

The Raid Redemption: This one is a couple years old. A sequel just came out this year, in fact. It's a Malaysian action flick (from a British writer/director). I remember Ebert gave it a horrible 1-star review just because it's almost purely ACTION and he was feeling crabby about it, I guess. Cops raid a building that's undercontrol of a drug gang, ultra-violence ensues. If you saw Dredd, here's a less sci-fi, more kicky and shooty-in-the-heady version. There were some RAD fight scenes, and then some UGH-ultra violent shooty parts. Haven't seen the sequel, but it sounds like it addressed the complaints about lack of story/character in all the wrong ways, turning out to be kind of a slog.

Then, at work, I'm watching this 1-season "mystery" show on Netflix that came and went called Persons Unknown. It's not very good, but it's only 13 episodes, I believe, and I can watch these silly shows like nobodies business. Here's the description from episode 3 that cracks me up in how vaguely bad it sounds:
After a week of failed escape attempts, the hostages hope that a helicopter signals rescue, but it only hovers long enough to drop a mysterious box.
Hahahaha. It was even lamer than that description sounds. The story is, 7 strangers wake up in a mysterious hotel, plucked from their normal lives and dropped in this tiny empty "town" (looks like a "main street backlot"). They try to leave the town and they get shocked by some invisible ray or something. So it's like The Prisoner with NONE of the style of that show. Lost really set this trend into motion for a few years after it with all these weird knock-off mystery shows. I'll still finish it because, mystery.

Oldboy - Kind of connected to the above shitty mystery show, I saw the Spike Lee version of Oldboy recently. It was good/fine. Didn't seem needed since the original isn't really that old, but whatever, it was fun to watch and interesting to see what changes they decided to make. But here's my deal with Persons Unknown and Oldboy. Oldboy, both versions, sort of gives you an explanation for the prison that works in the world. The main bad guy of Oldboy is  ridiculous, but at least the prison that he uses COULD exist. With Persons Unknown, it seems SO inconceivable for an organization to do all the shit it's doing. Like it would be SO EXPENSIVE, it just doesn't click. I know, it's a tv show, but still, no matter who these dumb people turn out to be (and honestly they don't seem that interesting/"worth all this trouble" yet), it's a leap in logic that isn't working. LOST had the benefit of having some supernatural-element that makes all this nitpicking moot.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just got back from a week of traveling around with the kids. Fun time, but ugh, I'm exhausted. I'll think about your previous post more after some sleep elzar.

I gave in to a moment of weakness to kickstart this DCC box set. I only bring it up to note that the final stretch goal is a black velvet, blacklight-sensitive poster of the DCC skull-ram logo. I expect a minimum 200% increase in lovin' once I put that bad boy up in my room.

Hopefully I can run this mega module someday, under resplendent blacklight, either over hangouts or in the fleshbot.com. (Do not actually go to fleshbot.com.)

| Monetize The Action Team

We should try and monetize our blog.

Not because we think we are important, not because we think we will be millionaires, but because it might be a fun project, we might get some loot out of the deal, we might be able to affect/influence others, we might be able to build a fun community, and it might be neat to see if we COULD do it.

I'm looking at how 'professional' blogs make money, and really for that matter how websites make money, for a project that some of the moms on our street might be undertaking (answer: a mom blog) and it got me thinking about the AT.  We are funny, we have our niche, we have experience in our niche that should lend some credibility in our posts (not that we are authorities, but we would have something to say with historical comparisons/experiences), we have our opinions, we have diverse lifestyles and tastes, and I think with a little effort we could adapt our loosely structured communications blog into something that someone in the world might want to pay attention to or at least read on the shitter between pushes or on their favorite RSS reader while commuting to work.

I have familiarity with sort of the ins and outs of SEO, traffic generation, keywords, backlinks, etc. but am NO WAY a master, or even experienced, but I would like to try and would love for any other AT'er to also spend some free time learning, sharing, and trying stuff out with me (above the belt, gentlemen).

"The Electric Cardboard Mayhem" was the podcast that R00d and I did a heck of years back, and it was totally fun!  We actually had listeners (its true, we got emails!) and it was fun to sort of give back to the community at the time.  If we could do something similar, keep some sort of cadence, schedule, and plan in mind, we might be able to do something pretty cool, build a community, and have an excuse/reason why we CAN'T miss our Thursday night Microscope session because we HAVE to blog about it for our Friday Microscope recap!

We would of course need to change everything about how we currently blog: the software, the hosting, the layout, etc., but that's the easy part!

I dunno.  You guys are smart and funny and I think with a little discipline we could finally do something cool together.  At the worst we are out of some free time and at the best, who knows?

Thoughts?  Email or text is probably a better medium, but posting works too and I figured I'd start here!