Basic Gamestore Etiquette- Don’t be a Gamehole.

March 24, 2014

So last night I was playing in a heroclix tournament at my local game and comics shop when I noticed not one but two instances of a breach in games store etiquette.  This inspired me to type out this blog. I present what I will call the 2 basic rules of game store etiquette.

1-      Keep your opinion of someone else’s fun to yourself. What I mean by this is if someone is taking part in a game you don’t like don’t tell them so. It is none of your damn business.  Last night two different people decided to inject into our games their views on why they dislike heroclix. You know what?  There are a lot of games played at my local game store that I don’t care for.  I don’t like Warmachine, or 40k or any game where you pay 15-20 bucks for a broken figure that isn’t even painted.   I understand that some people get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when they glue and paint their own figures. It just isn’t for me.  I don’t walk up to their tables where they are playing Warmachine and tell them that. Why not? Because that would make me an asshole. Telling people how much you dislike a game they are enjoying is a dick move.  I don’t care if you think certain clix rules are broken. I don’t care what grievance you have with the game I am playing. If you actually show up and play heroclix regularly then you can at least have room to talk. Otherwise piss off and let me enjoy my rules broken superhero game in peace.

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2-      Don’t walk up and pick up a figure that doesn’t belong to you. Last night some guy that I don’t know walked up to my table and picked up one of my heroclix. I had to bite my lip to keep from letting this guy have it. Leave other people’s stuff alone unless you have permission to touch it. I thought this was the most basic rule that most geeks would understand. Once again this guy didn’t play heroclix and didn’t seem all that interested in it. Regardless it is poor form to touch someone else’s toys. PERIOD!

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Everyone gets into games to have fun. Not everyone will enjoy the same thing. People are different. Don’t infringe on someone else’s fun because you think you know it all. Don’t be a gamehole.

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My Favorite of 2013 Part 2- Movie and Heroclix Set

January 5, 2014

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone but my favorite movie in 2013 was Thor The Dark World.

 

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As a long time fan of Marvel comics’ Thor character this was the Thor movie I was always hoping for. There were dark elves, weird science, awesome battle scenes and just the right amount of romance and comedy.  Plus Natalie Portman…’nuff said.

Favorite Heroclix set of 2013: Amazing Spider-Man

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This set had the Legion of Monsters, Spider-Man 2099, and other bits of awesomeness.  I loved the characters with “Wild Dials”. It was my favorite “new mechanic” that was introduced to the game last year.

All in all 2013 was a great year for nerds everywhere!

Next time I will unveil the third and final part of my favorites of 2013. It will have my top 5 albums of 2013 and my favorite RPG book of last year.


My Favorites From 2011

December 30, 2011

On a personal level 2011 was a another tumultuous and hellish year for me.  However it was a great year for the various “geeks” trapped in my head.

Comic book Geek:

DC comics decided to relaunch their entire universe. The event mini series “Flashpoint” put an end to the previous DCU and jump started the new DCU or DCNU.   This was a ballsy move for DC and so far it has worked. At least as far as sales are concerned.  I will admit that as a whole I prefer the pre-flashpoint DCU to the new one. However, the wingnut in me was thrilled with the relaunched Nightwing book.  So far it has contained the best Nightwing stories I have read since the good old days when Chuck Dixon wrote the book back in the 90’s.  Another stand out book for me was Frankenstein Agent of SHADE.  It is just a fun comic book to read.  Frankenstein leads a team of monsters against crazy threats from other dimensions.  If you haven’t tried that book yet then you are missing out.

 

Marvel’s Ultimate line was on fire this year. Not only did Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe die but a new Spider-Man emerged. Jonathan Hickman has written some great stuff in the Ultimates while Nick Spencer has scripted some amazing stories in X-Men.   In the main Marvel Universe Wolverine’s black ops team Uncanny X-force has also been a great read.

The only indie comic I got into this year was IDW’s Dungeons and Dragons comic. It translated everything I enjoyed about the game into a highly entertaining and well written comic.

Gaming Geek:

This year I drifted away from miniature gaming and back to tabletop role-playing.  The Heroes of Shadow book for 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons offered some great options for players.  It added several interesting classes like the Assassin, Vampire and Black Guard.  It also added some new races and some interesting options for the existing classes. Nethermancy anyone?

Movie Geek:

This was a great year to be a comic book fan as many of this past years best movies were pulled  from the pages of the funny books.  Thor is my “movie of the year”. I also loved Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens.

The movie Immortals made my greek mythology nerd happy and it also demonstrated how awesome over the top CGI gore can be.

Music Geek:

Some of my favorite bands released great albums this year. Opeth’s “Heritage” is amazing.  Evanescence rocks it on their new album. Amy Lee once again makes me wish that I had a vagina so that I could fully emote with her…Don’t tell anyone I said that.  On the Christian front Sleeping Giant put out a metalcore record with some crushing rifts and non seeker friendly lyrics. “Kingdom Days in an Evil Age” crushes compromise.   Becoming the Archetype’s “Celestial Completion”  proved once again that Christians can make excellent Proggessive death metal!

 

TV Geek A.K.A I can’t get a date so I watch:

To be honest it has been a while since I found a TV show that I get excited about watching. Like most people i’ll watch the occasional episode of one of the CSIs or NCISes to pass the time.  I don’t go out of my way to catch them though.  The show Person of Interest caught my interest. It has everything I love in it: drama, action, mystery and a compelling back story that is slowly unfolding throughout the series.  It helps that it stars two of my favorite actors: Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. I have noticed a few other LOST alums popping up throughout the course of this show.

Now all of the geeks that are trapped inside of my brain have had their voice.   What have you guys enjoyed most this year?


Labyrinth Lord..Sometimes Simple is Better

May 16, 2011

Does anyone remember when pen and paper role playing games weren’t lame games about “touchy feely” vampires ? Does anyone remember when one could generate a character without having to agonize over hundreds of different feats and mathematical equations?

I miss the good old days of using my brain in a dungeon instead of just making a search or perception check.   When I actually had to tell the DM where I was looking.  I also miss the feeling that insidious painful death could be around any corner. No healing surges or negative HP I could fall back on.  Zero meant dead.   Well thankfully goblinoid games have given me what I have been searching for. A game called Labyrinth Lord.

Labyrinth Lord is what is called by gamers a “retro clone”. Meaning that its rules and stats are heavily based off of the original Dungeons and Dragons of the 80s. Labyrinth Lord is the basic Dungeons and Dragons of the 80s reborn.   The book is laid out beautifully and it captures the simplicity that is missing from virtually every modern RPG.  I made 3 characters the other night in an hour. Compare that to the one character I can make for Pathfinder or 4e in an hour to two hours.  The class options are simple you can play a Magic User, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Fighter or Cleric.  You don’t have to agonize for hours or over what feats or powers to buff up your character with. You can roll him up and then plunge into the adventure. This game is great for super busy adults that don’t have a lot of time to write up adventures or generate characters. Sometimes it is nice to just get together and have fun.

The combat system is straightforward and easy to understand. Yes you read that right. I would much rather have THAC0 then the overly complex system that Pathfinder and 4e have.  The DM doesn’t have to know all the modifiers for different situations he can just run combat without letting it get bogged down in number crunching.  I have seen that happen WAY to often for my liking. Also there isn’t much to rules lawyer here. So the endless rules debates won’t bog down a campaign.

Perhaps I am just an old geek bastard that prefers having fun over equations or working out my emotional issues through a self proclaimed world of Dorkness I mean err darkness.  I’ll work out my issues when my dwarf buries his axe into the face of an approaching orc.

You can find out more about Labyrinth Lord and the products that are associated with it at goblinoidgames.com. I am going to post a link to their site under the “link” section of this blog.

Another good thing about this game is that it is affordable. You don’t have to shell out a hill giant arm and an ogre leg for 3 to 7 core books. One book has all you need to play.   Wow..simple and affordable. Who would have thought that such a game would be out there?


Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Thoughts and Complaints

November 9, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons has been entertaining nerds since it first came out in the early seventies. It has seen many changes over the years and ownership of the game has traded hands at least once. It is currently owned by Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards is owned by Hasbro.

Two years ago Wizards put out the fourth edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game. Claiming it to be the “best” edition yet.  What fourth edition actually did was split D and D enthusiasts into two groups. One group decided they didn’t like 4th and they either stuck with an earlier edition or went with Pathfinder. Pathfinder is an updated version of third edition Dungeons and Dragons that i’ll talk about in a future article.

So how is 4th really? Does it deserve all of the fan backlash it has received? Is it a worthless edition of D and D?

For a while I wouldn’t go near 4th edition. I figured it was just a lame watered down version of the earlier games.   Recently Wizards decided to put out a “red box”. An earlier edition of D and D that I grew up with also had a red box. So nostalgia got the better of me and I decided to pick it up and give 4th a chance.  

As I read through the materials provided I found myself enjoying and appreciating what they did with the game.  Many have called 4th edition a tabletop MMO and I think that is a partly accurate description. The classes are given strategic designations and each one has a specific part to play during a combat encounter.  What people fail to realize is that to a certain extent past editions have had that in the party dynamic. All 4th did was identify what class works best where.

Another aspect of the game I liked was the way they handled magic this time around. Gone is the annoying spells per day system. It has been replaced by a variety of Arcane “powers”. In fact feats are a completely different beast in 4e. All classes get powers from either the martial, arcane or divine source. Some powers can be used as often as one wants while others can only be used once a day or once an encounter. I like this better for magic users especially. They can now cast Magic Missile at will and as many times as they want. As opposed to casting it once a day and then they somehow forget the spell and have to rememorize it.  I have always hated that about earlier edition Magic users. It never made any sense to me.  The same goes for Divine casters.  I’d much rather have fewer unlimited spells to cast than 20 spells that I can only cast once or twice day a piece.

The combat system for 4th is very detailed yet easy to learn at the same time.  Like its predecessor it makes heavy use of miniatures for combat.

My main beef with both 3rd and 4th edition is that if you want to run combat correctly you need minis and a battle map. The minis aren’t cheap either. Recently Wizards has been releasing cardboard cut outs of monsters and heroes with its boxed sets. It seems like they are getting the idea that expensive books and expensive minis has hurt their sales. Of course with Hasbro owning D and D now it makes a certain amount of sense that they would want to sell more than D and D books.  I always preferred having the action described to me and picturing it in my head to using minis.  I do see the advantage to having them though.  With 3rd edition you could fudge your way out of using minis. With 4th there is no way to run combat without them. The combat system is to involved for that.

Despite its problems and my minor beefs with it I believe that 4th edition is the best game for new gamers.  The concepts behind MMOs will help people familiar with those to be able to understand it and play it faster. Even if someone has never played an RPG of any kind in their life they could pick up the red box and know enough to get a group going in a very short amount of time.

Second and third edition both required hours of studying the rules to truly understand it. 4th not so much. For some the simplicity of the system keeps them away. For others it is an open door to an evening of excitement.

One thing to keep in mind is that fourth edition is completely different than previous editions in a lot of ways.   They cut away a lot of the fat that 3rd edition had with its gobs and gobs of supplementary material and rules.  I hope that with 4th they keep it reigned in.

My final thought on 4th is that if you prefer complexity to simplicity than go with Pathfinder or stick with 3rd.   If you just want a simple game to get into than try 4th.  Be warned though that 4th edition material and 3rd is NOT compatible.

I am not knocking Pathfinder though. It is a great game for long time D and D enthusiasts and i’ll talk more about it next time.


Halloween Goodness: Vampires

October 26, 2010
Today seemed like a good day to discuss the Vampire. Now when I was young Vampires only came out at night and they weren’t glittery.  In fact if a Vampire glowed it meant that he was about to explode. Times may have changed thanks to the horrible Twilight series but my favorite Vampire stuff will always have a special place in my heart. At least until it gets run through with a stake..
My favorite Vampire movie is Francis Ford Coppola’s  Dracula!  Gary Oldman plays a magnificent Dracula in this film.  This was THE vampire movie when I was a teenager.  I’ll also admit that my virginal teenage self also enjoyed the hot naked Vampire chicks in this movie. Hey..At least I admit it!
My favorite TV show about a bloodsucker was Angel. It was a spin off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and it followed the misadventures of Angel who was a vampire with a soul…most of the time anyway.
When I was a lonely nerdy teen with no life my favorite pen and paper RPG was called Vampire The Masquerade. Finally I could live out my Vampire fantasies and get some use out of my D10s.
My favorite Vampire novel is Vampire of the Mist which is set in the gothic horror fantasy world of Ravenloft. The main character is a gold elf vampire that doesn’t  want to be evil. He ends up in the cursed land of Barovia and has a fun time with the notorious Strahd!
Finally the most terrifying  Vampire I have ever seen is this lady:
Haha! I thought it was funny!

Halloween Goodness: Zombies

October 25, 2010

In celebration of Halloween I am going to do daily posts that highlight my favorite movies, comics and whatever else I can think of based on the creature I pick.  Today’s Halloween monster is the zombie. If  glittery Vampires populate pop cultures wet dreams than surely Zombies are in its worst nightmares. After all it is difficult to romanticize a lumbering creature that just wants to eat you and not copulate with you.  So without further ado here are my favorite pieces of zombie goodness.

By far my favorite zombie movie is 28 Days Later. The movie has a great cast and some truly terrifying zombies. Although in the movie we find out that sometimes human nature can be worse than zombies when it is pushed to the limits.

As far as Zombie comedies go “Zombieland” is my favorite.  The Bill Murray scenes alone make this movie worth seeing.  Honorable mention goes to “Shaun of the Dead”.

My favorite piece of music inspired by Zombies is the “Zombie EP” that was put out by The Devil Wears Prada earlier this year.  There aren’t enough Zombie concept albums in music.  This record is good and heavy. It is the heaviest thing that i’ve ever heard out of these guys. They should write this way more often.

My favorite Zombie board game is “Last Night on Earth” . This game is a regular zombie hootananny!

Finally my favorite Zombie comic book event is Blackest Night. That story line was awesome and it put to shame Marvel’s lame attempts at zombie stories.

What are some of your favorite zombie items/movies/whatever?