The Birthday Imperium!

As we age and degrade due to O3 toxicity, birthdays become less about seemingly random fornication and crop sickness and wrestling and more about exceedingly nerdy pursuits.    Mine for this year is a 6+ hour long game of Twilight Imperium + Expansion hosted by a buddy.  I’ve railed on this game’s 3rd edition for years now because the basic set with the basic set of rules is basically a broken game that has little to do with the movement of your pieces on the map board, and other than the pieces, is altogether worse than 2nd edition.  However, with the expansion, Fantasy Flight has purportedly fixed the terrible issues and I’m using my birthday gaming day to test out once and for all whether it’s a keeper.

That said, I’m completely willing to keep games that are played once every year or two– some are MONSTERS and really only need to be pulled out that often to deserve a place on the shelf.  I obviously would never part with my copy of Republic of Rome, though I’ve only gotten 2 plays with my set.  With the base set of TI3, my local play group essentially asked for it never to be pulled out again after a couple plays and that means it gets shot up to ebay. We’ll see if it’s worth it with the expansion this weekend.  Expect an AAR!

No new splats in anathema–yet!

I looked into the release notes from Anathema and there are no new splat books supported, but bug fixes and updates to the existing splats (Solar, Dragon Blooded).  This is a start, again, and still one I’m excited about as a GM.  Frankly, I’d love to see and update with Fair Folk, as I fundamentally do not understand how they interact when in creation– outside creation in the Wyld it’s really easy to understand shaping combat with the graces, but how they get hordes of hobgoblins and behemoths into creation to fuck shit up is really difficult to piece together with the Splat Book.

New Anathema!

It’s been a long time– a brutally long time since Exalted’s fantastic character editor had a new version to include some of the post-Dragon Blooded splat books and expansions.  I am very excited as it’s a really tough row to hoe to get some of the new character types built up, and as a GM, I have to generate tons of NPC’s  (as they have a tendency to get squished a lot) and while I really like using Ed’s Exalted, the actual character sheets it generates are really quite bad and depressing, especially seeing how complete the rest of it is.  Anyway, here is a link to the Anathema dev site.

The Horrible Heroes Continue

Other than improved  and 3D graphics that actually hindered gameplay Heroes of Might and Magic 5 did nothing to advance the series except for having slightly better gameplay than the abortive version 4.  Most fans of the series, after plodding through the more recent versions, are still playing HoMM3 from 1999, or, if they are normal people, have moved on long ago to other games.    For those people like Steve, Matt and John who just can’t give up sitting in puke stained underwear from 6AM to 6PM in a crop sick daze playing HoMM hotseat in a co-mingled  cloud of rump gasps–this is apparently a series that simply won’t die as the just announced Heroes of Might and Magic 6 proves.

and not to be overmatched– a Torchlight 2 video

Competition makes products better.  Competition between awesome and awesome makes?!  That said, I’ve watched the torchlight 2 vid only twice and haven’t done the frame by frame analysis that will inevitably be done– what it looks like though so far is that the screen has been opened up and, of course, they went out of their way to show off the outside areas in the game. Looks fantastich.

Diablo 3 Artisan

Looks like Blizzard’s D3 team are taking the crafting system seriously– something I miss a lot in Torchlight (and am spoiled by D2 Zyel in)—with the introduction of the artisan.  Given that Diablo is at it’s core an item management game, this is an interesting twist that reminds me of leveling up the shops in Disgaea or Makai Kingdom.

Q:  What do the artisans offer?

A:  Skilling up your artisans will unlock unique recipes, granting your character access to benefits that may not be found anywhere else in the world.  The blacksmith crafts weapons and armor, and can add sockets to some items.  The mystic creates scrolls, potions, magical weapons, spell runes, and charms, and can also enchant items.  The jeweler crafts gems , amulets, and rings. The jeweler can also remove gems from socketed items and can combine gems to improve their quality.

Rules for Dungeonquest online

The rules for the Fantasy Flight version of the classic GW dice with death Dungeonquest are now posted online.  Having only played the old version once, while fairly recently, I don’t see a lot of changes to the rules except the combat which, in the original, was rock paper scissors.  The new method uses a mutual deck of combat cards and splits the attacks by ranged, close and magic.  Looks much better, but the play is the thing.  My only worry is that the combats must play out fast fast fast.  While it’s fun to watch the other players die, the key to this game is to keep the game moving as quickly as possible to avoid the inevitable angst of turn.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to this bad boy!

50 Cosmic Encounters!

According to the board game geek as of Wednesday night’s game, I have played the Fantasy Flight version of Cosmic Encounter 50 times now– almost more than the total plays of all my other board games combined in the last couple years (aside from CCG’s).  Why is this?  Simply: Cosmic Encounter is the best board game there is. Period. That’s not to say it’s the only game I want to play, but it really is the stalwart standby that always delivers a great time.

That said, we have two more eliminated aliens from our COSMIC ANNIHILATION attempt to run through all the Aliens at least once: Guerrilla and Masochist join the Deuce, Amoeba, Leviathan, Tripler in the dead pile.

Blood Meridian

Well the western obsession as an escape from the realities of the first month having two kids continues unabated. As tough it was to find, I tracked a slightly worn copy of Blood Meridian down a few weeks back and read it. While not a huge fan of westerns, I took a Western literature class in college that started with The Virginian (of course) and ended with a few post-modern Indian novels. Why the prof didn’t have us read Blood Meridian I will never know as it’s one of the best books I’ve read, and possibly the best picaresque (I know, I know–what can top Unfortunate Traveler?). In trying to piece together the ending I stumbled upon this two part lecture by a Yale Professor for what looks like a freshman lit survey course. While they dig into the book something fine, the lectures thankfully do not get into the sad and rather pathetic mental masturbationist textual analysis I suffered through in a few classes, wherein the professor spends a majority of the time dealing with what other professors have written about other professors writings about the text in literary journals (in exclusionary language no less) rather than the book itself.  What’s more, there’s apparently a movie in the works.