Sunday, January 18, 2015

Versus That One Game

Don't talk to me about that one game, man. I don't wanna hear it. Makes me mad, so don't even.

And it's not like I hate it, or somethin'; it's a thing with me that I don't hate anything. Hating's not my style. I don't wanna play it, and it's the opposite of what I want out of a game. Anybody else likes it, that's fine. I like Xanadu, after all -- I'm not gonna dog on anyone just 'cause of how they wanna get down. 

But that's the problem -- it's like everyone seems to like that game, and only that game. It's that game, or nothing.

"Hey, ev'rybody!" I will often say, "I'm running a demo of this other game, here! All kinds of different games, in fact! Come on over to the games store, let's have some fun, it's free! Supposedly I don't even suck at it!"

Yet no one shows up, because it's not that game.

"Okay, I dig that you like that game. I have lots of favorites, too. There are lots of games! This is a crazy bigass hobby! Here's more of it to enjoy!"

Deaf ears, brick walls.

"What am I doin' wrong, fellas? What's -- am I stinky? I shower before these things, I swear...what can I do to get you guys to try out this game?"

Now I get answers: I'm too invested in my game. I can't afford a new one. I only have so much time.

"Um...the demos are free. No one's trying to take your game away, just share a new one with you. And the demos are all one-shots, just so you can see if you li-"

My game is what I want! They get defensive, here; close ranks, put signs on the clubhouse door.


So, yeah. I suppose it's not really the game's fault for being popular, no matter how much I think it's an overcomplicated, pandering exercise in excess. Other folks dig it and that's aces.

I suppose, then, that it's the players who treat it like it's a cult, who perceive (or seem to perceive) offers of other games as an attack against them, or...some...thing, I dunno. The net result is that what should be a game I can simply ignore has become a foe to me. Beyond an annoyance, it's a symbol of my frustration.

"Well, okay. Thanks for your time," I say, and go back to the drawing board...

...and all the locals go back to finding a path, or whatever.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I ♥ "The Strange" (and Lazerhawk)

And in fact, it was ♥ at first sight. BAM. Like that.

As you know (because you're not a lazy mofo who never updates his or her blog and is thus always late to the party), The Strange is Monte Cook Games' newest entry in the Cypher System line, and it's by Bruce Cordell and Monte Cook, edited by Shanna Germain and illustrated by Matt Stawicki. It can be described (neither unfairly nor unkindly) as "Planescape Modern". The book looks like this --

 --on the outside, like this--

Image totally pinched from
-- on the inside, and has illustrations like this one--

-- and this one--

--right? I mean, those are things you knew already. Because of the not-a-lazy-mofo etc. etc. etc. thing.

Okay, good. 

So I saw it at my FLGS and heard a few mentions of it and stuff and then a buddy of mine picked up a copy and he said it was kind of cool so I looked through the book a little and it did indeed look really cool and --

Let me slow down here, a minute, and tell you why it looked cool.

The notion of moving back and forth between realities made out of fiction? That hit something deeeeeeeeeeep inside Doc Rotwang!. It's probably the same for you -- that the worlds and places you create, in your head, are so, so real to you...just not real enough. They're just beyond tactile, just this side of material, such that your senses can but brush against them, that tingle on your skin when something hovers close but does not touch it.

Of course you'd want to see them made real. Of course you want to pass through that membrane. That's what you daydream of. One of your greatest regrets, and one that you'll take to your grave, is knowing that you'll never really be able to do that, to go there, to the places in your mind.

PCs in The Strange, though -- that's what they DO.

Maybe they don't go to the places that they've dreamed up (though that can happen), but -- man, it's something, right?

I was intrigued. I had to know more about this game.

And then my FLGS scheduled a demo of it run by Ryan Chaddock who is a licensed third-party publisher for Cypher System stuff and I went to the demo and I was sold on the thing in like the first five minutes because not only is the concept totally aces but the system is all easy and unobtrusive and holy crap ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥oifoiqowi oweoqwioersafdsafdjsfd


The game is crazy bananas, and I think you can tell by now that I kinda dig it. my buddy who'd bought the game decided that, although he liked it, he didn't like it as much as I obviously do, so he gave me his copy. He's a swell, that Chris.

So let's call this my official endorsement of the game, and Bob's your uncle.

Speaking of Bob, Ryan Chaddock is not named Bob but he is the author of The Translation Codex, which is not only the first third-party supp for this thing but also, in my estimation, muhfuggin' essential. It presents some character options which, and I am not kidding, really ought to have been in the core book. That's not a slam on its authors -- that's a high-five for Ryan, and my official endorsement of it. Got The Strange? Getting The Strange? Getchoo The Translation Codex. Easy. I just said so. 

Also, I ♥ Lazerhawk. Play me out, Lazerhawk!

...thanks, Lazerhawk.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WHAT'S NEW? - With Doc R! and...ummm...


...huh. Dusty, in here.

Let's pretend I never left. OK? OK! Great.

So here's what I'm into these days:

I scored (i.e. 'purchased with legal tender) a copy of Night's Black Agents a while back, and boy howdy, I gotta tellya: this is some good stuff.

I read a review of it on, and was sold pretty much instantly--here was a game about being a badass and slapping the gunk outta vampires, and so what's a better thing to do with them than that? NOTHING IS, THAT'S WHAT. I'm glad you agree with me, because it'd be pretty awkward having to explain it to you. I love that we're friends!

Aaaaaaaany-old-way, as you likely know by now because the game ain't 'xactly new, Night's Black Agents uses the GUMSHOE system, designed by Robin Laws. GUMSHOE is tuned for investigative-type scenarios, and thus operates on the crazy-ass notion that rolling to see if you notice important clues, and potentially boinking that roll, is no fun; you should just get that clue, GUMSHOE says, as long as your character has the necessary skill and is in the same location as the clue. There's more to it, but that's the main thing. Right?

I like that.

I dug the game, I dug it right away. And before you know it, I'm all, like, Dude. I wonder if I'd dig Trail of Cthulhu as well? So I checked it out, and picked up a copy, and -- what do ya know? I DID! I DID dug it! Um! Dig it!

And of course, Ashen Stars came next. Because SPACE OPERA.

Okay, I'm gonna bail before this starts to feel forced. While we wait for me to come back, here:

...your turn to dig somethin'.