A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Evidence of Why I am Slow and Lazy

As if my pile of unfinished projects started on this blog are not evidence enough, or my half painted miniatures wargame armies, or the throng of half or unread gaming books or the mass of videogames are not enough, I humbly present my collection of unbuilt model kits. Some of which I would build once I know how to use an airbrush as I see no other way to make them properly pretty.

Many of the robot model kits come in their core colors and I generally have no excuse.

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On the left is my newest kit, Raideen, complete with removable parts to turn what might be the first transforming robot into its bird mode. You would figure technology would allow a modern model kit to do this WITHOUT parts swapping. On the right is the last model kit my father purchased for me, back in 2003-2004. My favorite mecha design the VF2-SS. It currently has 2 legs built during a disastrous Changeling sit down RPG session.


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In my cellar (in the parts my uncle I haven't really seen or talked to in 2 years hasn't taken over with stuff he put in there when he moved to an apartment) is the remaining heroes of G Gundam 1/144 kits (already have Rising Gundam built, and MSiA toys of God and Nobel Gundam.) plus the Robotech Defenders kit edition of the Orguss. The Orguss is one of those kits I really NEED an airbrush and skills to do right.


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And the real pile of shame. Kits from as far back as 1999 unbuilt. Fei's mech from Gundam Wing, the Master Grade Ingram from Patlabor, the Alien from Alien, an AT AT from Star Wars, an SR 71 Blackbird (my favorite airplane EVER), the AH 64 Apache Gunship (my favorite helicopter, mostly thanks to Gunship on the Commodore 64), the V117, the VF 1D Valkyrie Training type with FAST Pack (another GET AN AIRBRUSH model), some really small scale Macross kits I bought for Battletech but are too big, the Dougram aka Battletech's Shadow Hawk, the lovely Dom 2 from Gundam 0080 (one of the 2 best original Gundam timeline series), another 0080 kit from the Zeon side, and 3 Super Robot Taisen kits to complete my ATX team even though my Alteisen kit is out of scale with them. (But it was a 500 piece BEAST I am proud to display even without much actual painting done to it.)

As you can see, I have a great many projects to work on. Its rather sad really. Especially since I have my eyes on a GaoGaiGar with Dividing Driver big kit at the comic shop.

A nerd's work is never done, is it?

And people wonder why I like prepainted minis games...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

RPGs and the Image of Cool

I am a big proponent that RPGs aren't looked at fondly by the masses, and it is a BIG challenge we as gamers face.

On one of the forums I visit it was brought up. Here is my response:

Are roleplaying and the people who do it cool?

No, we are really no better or worse than any other group of people participating in a harmless and fun passtime.

Does roleplaying and the people who do it have an image of cool?

No, we are considered to be some of the worst of the worst before getting into people doing immoral, illegal, and deviant passtimes.

Which is total retarded bullpuckey, but image means more than content.

(Explains how Mike Bay is still allowed to make movies.)

Someone made a good point on the Penn & Teller show Bullsh*t. If American Football was invented recently it would be outlawed or decried all over the place as being overly dangerous and a threat to our youth as thousands of injuries have happened over the years and quite a few fatalities.

Yet a harmless thing like videogames has tons of anti game crusaders.

Why? Its all about image, and what is socially acceptable, not the actual reality of the situation.

Alcohol kills and destroys thousands of lives every year but if any nation tried to outlaw it there would be a damned riot. (Just see United States Prohibition in the early 1900s!) Its taken multiple family members from me to the point I hardly have any left alive. (And even fewer one could say are doing well thanks to it.)

Why is it defended? Its a way of life and so established its not going away, and the reasonable explanation that most people who partake of it are perfectly fine and not getting into accidents, fights, or drinking themselves to death or poverty.

You can put this same line of thought to RPGs which maybe have a tenth of a percent of actual relatable "damage" to the users of it, but thanks to image its considered horrible.

Luckily we ARE doing better on image than the 80s with Pat Pulling and her reactionary nonsense though.

But sadly, perception always beats reality. It keeps political parties going, starts pointless wars, gives religions power, and helps the people who enjoy staying stupid and ignorant keeping to this status quo.

I'm not sure what else one can really say.

Keep gaming and to Hell with anyone who says otherwise.

Just please make sure you aren't one of the bad eggs who makes the rest of us look bad.

I guess it just sucks to be gamers. But there has to be something to it if in spite of the image it has we keep doing it in spite of all the obstacles.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pricing and the Doom of RPGs

I've been hearing it for years. RPGs are doomed. Sadly there is a loud group of morons (many of which unsurprisingly are on RPGnet) who claim these games are too cheap. This has lead to some blogger posting a massive 2 part manifesto on how RPGs are TOO CHEAP and this is a big reason why they are dying out.

Yeah.

I largely lost interest in either ramble the second it was said RPGs were too cheap.

The real problem with RPGs doing well is their image, their marketing, their complexity, and their fanbase.

Secondary problems involve scheduling issues for gamers, their generally too high pricing, quality of the actual gaming products, and the market's desire to actually play them.

For some reason 2/3rds of all roleplayers seem content to only play whatever edition of Dungeons & Dragons is currently in print regardless of the game's actual quality.

But overall RPGs just have the same damned problem American comics do. They cost too much, and are continually aimed at pleasing an ever decreasing market share, and are largely only available at specialty stores which are hard to find if you don't know where to look, and are usually repellent to anyone not willing to put up with their "quirks".

At least comics have a trade paperback market at the bookstore which kind of helps, plus major TV and movie and toy properties to help keep them in the mindshare.

RPGs don't have this period to the point I wonder why anyone bothers making or playing anything, especially if its not more in print D&D (or maybe White Wolf as the distant second place).

And if we want to do a quick play with nerd product prices....

I have the complete 20 issue (20 month) run of the Marvel Shogun Warriors comic book which ran from 1978 to 1980. At its start it was 35 cents, which was touted as a feature.

By issue 4 it was up to 40 cents, and the final issue (20) was 50. 5-6 years later 60 cents was the normal comic book price with series like the Transformers being a notable exception at 75 cents for slightly better quality paper and color.

Now most comic books are 3 dollars, with many at 4. (Such as the Transformers)

It doesn't really matter if the books look amazing, its 4 bucks for 10 minutes of entertainment, 15 if you are a slow reader or like to really study the artwork.

When I tell your average person or even your average nerd how much a comic book costs now I get words of disgust and horror.

Few people will pay this price regardless of economic realities and the ever retarded inflation principle.

Which leads to comics having to increase prices which causes them to sell to even LESS people, being one of many causes of comics' downward spiral. And then when you compare it to Manga books where its a good 200 pages for 10 dollars it makes it so even the only new comics fans stay in the land of black and white comics with sweatdrops.

100 bucks is still 100 bucks even if it gets you less. Perception of value and sticker shock matters.

Just ask Sony how they are doing with their expensive game console compared to the cheaper 360 and Wii offerings. They hold a distant third place in most of the world because of it.

And even inflation has a stopping point. A can of soda in the mid 80s was like 50 cents. Its roughly a dollar now with some variation. Its only doubled in price as opposed to RPGs which went from 15 bucks in the late 80s to 40-50 now.

Its more than doubled. And what do we get? Oh so fancy full color and hardback, stuff that does SQUAT for actually playing and enjoying the game.

Unless making the books heavier and less portable counts as a feature. Oh, and sucking up more printer ink if you need to make some cheat sheet pages.

RPGs need help, that is to be sure. But raising prices? That's just gonna make a bad situation WORSE.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Awesome Videogame News!

Mech5Yay

Yes. A new Mechwarrior game. I am excited. Battletech lives. The Unseen are back out of legal limbo, a new videogame is being made, and Catalyst is still making goodies for the tabletop game.

ROCK ON.

More news here: http://pc.ign.com/articles/100/1002164p1.html

Monday, July 6, 2009

Games of Success

What does that topic mean you ask?

Well last week I had a kind of sort of epiphany whilst playing many many games. Wednesday became I GAMED A LOT DAY. (For content posting I may bring up these events in a comic format just to make up for my currently low frequency of posting. I am keeping my blog to at least 4 posts a month, but it could use some more content...)

While the earlier games I played were gamer games with gamers, its the later games that I wish to talk about.

I played these games with a mixture of gamers, non gamers, and "well my SO is gaming so I will play too I suppose" types.

The games I introduced for the most part were really basic and quick to explain. Under 5 minutes and everyone knew the basics, or enough to start.

They were all highly regarded and the game that seemed the most "gamer" of the group (Wings of War) was a REAL hit, the second time I have gotten a horde of people involved and playing. (Which helped the epiphany part leading to this post.)

The rules take less than 5 minutes to learn the "basic" version of. Setup really takes about the same time (players selecting airplanes to use then putting them a reasonable distance away from other people's airplanes), and then everyone is on their way. Few exceptions to deal with, not too many rules, anyone can win, but skill has some effect, games take less than 30 minutes depending on number of players and scenario.

Now if the 2 different groups I had run Wings of War with had been introduced to say, Twilight Imperium, Warhammer 40K, Advanced Squad Leader, or something of that ilk? Not only wouldn't have many of them wanted to learn, I would have lost their interest before the game even began.

(Yes there is a thing called Phased Learning which helps here and I may go into in another post sometime, but for now we are just gonna keep things simple.)

Quick, fast, and easy to learn games you can teach quickly are more likely to engage people, especially casual gamers.

They will understand the game quicker, and start having fun much faster without being bored by endless explanations, subrules, and exceptions. Some folks later on may want the extra depth and crunch of a more complex title, but most won't. And they need that springboard, that solid foundation with core concepts before moving on to them.

And even hardcore gamers like myself sometimes want a lighter and more elegant game. Heck, its becoming my preference! Something I can learn fast, and teach even faster.

Almost every one of my most beloved RPGs usually fit into this quick and simple category. Basic Roleplaying/Call of Cthulhu? Roll percentile dice equal to or under your listed skill. D6? Roll that many dice and add them, beating a target number, with a Wild Die that causes gonzo effects as determined by the GM.

You can teach em quick and have them on their way fast, grabbing them.

So next time you pick out a game for new players, or as a new game for your existing group, look into some of the lighter, faster, simpler games.

You may find your fun comes in faster for everyone.

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