Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Music blog- Julie London

Because wow.

Figured I play some of this.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Loki's Child

Cower not, fierce reader! We have today a tale of upsetting the social order. A work of satire...or is it? Please note, this book is not for the gentle of spirit.

Fenris Wulf has presented us with an interesting tale, filled with crimes against Social Justice.  The first section of the book is filled with accusations against the modern "music" industry.  We have stories of talent getting ignored and buried, a culture that hates its supporters and enablers that will commit any crime to make the record happen.

We are also presented with a blatant hatred of all things leftist. That does not push our characters to the opposition party, for in fact they do not oppose but in name. Actual rights are abandoned in favor of rights that put one at the mercy of or in the control of the government. The government is shown repeatedly to be complicit in crimes of kidnapping, drugging, and outright murder of people that are problematic. Hmm.

As I stated, there are moments where one is unsure of it being satire. Of course, there are things that are clearly satire, such as Presidential trial and succession by duel. These are televised, of course. Blackmail, obsession, and divided loyalties are the tools of the day, and there are no depths the story's villains will not stoop to.

This story will make you laugh, mostly at how close to reality it is. The music industry actively avoids talent, audiences don't listen anyway, and our political parties have been so similar it's ridiculous. A fine story, and one I'm happy to recommend. 7/10 fell deeds.

Now, I'm going to address one aspect of this book I have some evidence for: the quality of editing done by Vox Day and the Castalia House team.  An early version of this tome was one of Castalia House's new release newsletter free books. I started reading that version; I actually got bored, and did not finish. Since then, it has been tightly edited to within an inch of its identity, and everything unnecessary has been chopped out. The transformation is remarkable, in terms of how much better the book became, while keeping the same story. Congratulations on the transformation, Vox.

I would like to further note that this is no insult to Fenris Wulf.  I have seen some unedited versions of John C. Wright's work, and he needs editing as well, despite being a master of prose. This is not for the quality of the words, but rather, the flow of the narrative, and an editor makes all the difference.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Market Share: It's a thing

And the Big 5 publishers are losing it. Their audiences are shrinking, as they keep pushing diversity. There's this little thing called the Author Earnings report, and it shows that people aren't reading less, just shifting where they purchase their fiction from. Hint: it ain't  the big publishers, and it's becoming unlikely that agents will be useful.

Enough of my little ranting. Brian Niemeier has a great blog post analyzing it, and why do the work twice?  Those trends look like small publishers and self publishing is the way to go. Hmm. Like Brian Niemeir, Declan Finn, and Nick Cole have done. They found their audience, Mr. Cole was even kicked to the curb by a major publisher, and had a bestseller by self publishing.

So who's buying, if the SJWs aren't? Could it be their enemis, the Sad and Rabid Puppies are moderates and conservatives who establishment SFF kept insulting? Could it be that Christians are returning to genres they practically founded, as the atheist brigade can't gatekeep them out?

It's just like in English classes when the teacher had a favorite subversive thing that bored everyone to tears. It went unread except by those that wanted to actually know the topic. Everyone else read the Cliff Notes. Now the suckups parrot all the talking points of their "leaders", guys like Damien Walter, who can't even compose a well written newspaper article, but has a grant from the Crown for a book he hasn't finished yet.

I'll do my own reading, thank you, review what I want to, and watch as the Big 5 collapse. Oh, Baen will keep one open, but only as a printing company. Castalia House is doing two books almost every month, and that will likely increase by the end of the year.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Quick Kickstarter Post

Firstly, a couple of interesting games, one of which is in its last day.

Final Act- This is a 2player tank warfare game, designed by a tank commander. This looks pretty cool, and while I'm not backing it(I have plenty of good 2player games), some of my readers might.

Word Domination- I'm recommending this because of the hybrid play involving a word game and a risk like game. If you have friends/loved ones that like word games, but not games with lots going on, this could be a good middle ground for you. In the same vein as Paperback, which I find in some ways to be one of the most interesting deck building games.

Some reading materials covered before(I haven't seen anything new that looked as interesting):
Cirsova magazine is still a bit shy of its funding level for issues 3 and 4. This is good stuff, and I'm wanting to get more of "My Name is John Carter". Good, solid, regressive SFF here.

Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese is going to get expanded, which is good news. The more entertaining SFF succeeds, the more we'll get, and this is top notch parody SFF.

I'm not telling anyone to back a project, but there is some interesting stuff here, and I think it deserves a look.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Music blog: Arch Enemy- You Will Know My Name

To the gaining of enemies:

Because Conan knew a bit about what is best in life.

To my haters: If you actually read my game articles, you'd know that I'm fighting for boardgames and tabletop gaming in general; I don't do much video gaming, and there are those better capable than I on that subject already in the fight.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Music blog: Sting(with Edin Karamazov)- Flow my Tears

Due to personal issues, I'm really not up for writing today. Some cathartic music for the soul. Some don't like Sting on these, but I dig it, as lutenists would be breathing smoke and have a rougher voice than our modern classical and madrigal singers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trigger Effect: The Pre-Persons

Since I have the attention of SocJus fans for now, I thought I'd trigger a few by lauding one they mistakenly consider a hero: Philip K. Dick. Yes, the man was a drug addled libertine. He never argued against paying the cost for the things he did. He also was wholeheartedly against abortion. They don't want to admit that for one instance, or wave it away, saying "We know better".


PKD wrote a story that is sadly looking more and more prescient as so called moral philosophers have been advocating for post birth abortion, and most Christian nations have abandoned their faith.

This story is called "The Pre-Persons", and can be found collected in The Eye of the Sibyl and other classic stories. It's likely collected in other places too, but that's where I have it. In this story, women run the world, men need permission to leave the country, and children can be aborted until age 12. Abortion is seen as desirable and good, and food stocks are apparently limited. Children live in fear of vans that look like ice cream trucks, and run in terror of the Good Humor man. Children need to be licensed as desirable, or they are considered strays.

A few thoughts: This is written from a Malthusian view, likely one that comes into being when men no longer lead and have no incentive for research. The fathers in this story are indeed weak, but are smart enough and strong enough to know they should attempt escape with their sons. As I cannot comprehend any attraction to a woman that would have an abortion, even further is the comprehension of a woman that would get turned on by killing her own children. You think that life is not precious? Why must you be a hypocrite and continue to live? Why must there be such expense and legal obstacles for people trying to adopt?  Philip K. Dick may have been drug addled, but he knew how to tell a story, and he's very much right on abortion; it can't be an arbitrary standard.

To those imbecilic SJWs that think I would need to Google some of Neil's titles, why do that when I have a shelf full of his prose? What, you had to Google the Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff? I didn't even mention the window into his life that is Angels and Visitations or the lacking slipshod piece that is Interworld. You don't understand what a bibliophile does: when we find an author we like, we tend to get a lot of their work, especially when they're easy to read. I never said Gaiman was pro-Christian, just that he wasn't anti-Christian or conservative in the past, which is true. You f'n love
Science? Good. Go read Ascent to Orbit by Arthur C. Clarke; I did that in high school, you sycophantic prophylactic covered cowards.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Music Blog: session at O'Connor's Pub

Good balance of instruments, and good sound.

Heh. Reddit SJWs hate me

So my pageviews shot up yesterday with my "Nuts to you, Neil Gaiman" bit. They don't realize that by reading my words I am influencing them. If I'm not worth attention, don't talk about me, by all means. I don't mind the traffic, publicity, or ad views.

A bit of reply: I have read MOST of Neil Gaiman's work, adult, children's illustrated and prose. Signal to Noise was crazy, weird and brilliant. I loved Sandman and American Gods. His short story collections until Trigger Warning were a delight, particularly due to the poetry included therein. Don't project your illiteracy on me. I have the Little Gold Book. I possess the Todd Klein print of "Instructions", and one of "Don't Ask Jack", you projecting little jackals. Fragile Things is mine in hardcover and audiobook; don't tell me I haven't read the man's work. Odd and the Frost Giants is mediocre at best, while Two Plays for Voices was a brilliant adaptation of the stories it contained.

I have already confirmation that I am not the only one that has decided that Gaiman won't get their further patronage. His hating on the puppies of both stripes shows he is ignorant of facts, and perfectly willing to play the political game for points.

There was one comment on my Hugo post, so in reply to that:
As to the rest of the Hugos, Jerry Pournelle and Larry  Elmore, true legends, were voted below No Award. Dave Truesdale was kicked out of Worldcon for advocating that editors are skewing short fiction liberal, and it's hurting short fiction sff. He should know. Dave, you want to chat, I'll be glad to post a conversation. 

Best related work got No Awarded, despite the category being filled with works relevant to the history of SFF, and including one personal account of the ugly side of Fandom, and one academic work on the works of Gene Wolfe. Best fancast was also No Awarded, having talented and passionate candidates that SJWs couldn't stand winning.  Short dramatic presentation went to drug addled Jessica Jones over My Little Ponies version of 1984.

Hugo Awards: slowly becoming the drek of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Post- Hugo thoughts

Everyone else seems to be doing this, I suppose that I should as well.

Hmm... I'd rather spend time reading and reviewing more books, honestly, but I already did that today.

Nuts to you Neil Gaiman. You will never see another dime from me, and I suspect, many others. That's ok, your recent work has been in decline. Perhaps it has to do with marrying a woman that wants an open marriage? Abandoning the life you had in Minnesota, where you raised your children, and had a home capable of inspiring you? Giving in to the hatred that leftist atheists so consistently have for Christianity, and anything conservative? You are dead to me.

It's also comforting to know that anyone involved in any way with the great works of science fiction and fantasy aren't going to get Hugos. I mean Jerry Pournelle and Larry Elmore only contributed more and better work when they came out of retirement than the liberal hacks have done at their best. Razorfist showed great knowledge and passion for The Shadow, as well as doing comic retrospectives on par with anything DC or Marvel have done COMMERCIALLY, if with language and strong opinions. ALL of the best related category was good work, and worthy of recognition. Good to know that you don't read anything before 1970(I'll be generous).

Social Justice Warriors, you are why Vox Day exists as an editor, author, and blogger. You're why Nick Cole had a bestseller without a publisher. You're why Brian Niemeier and Declan Finn are currently self publishing, and SciPhi Journal, Cirsova, and Compelling Science Fiction came into existence. You just made Dave Truesdale a hero, and likely made Tangent Online more influential than File 770.

SocJus, you are why I exist. You have disemployed people, so I write with an alias. You have whined and lied about tabletop gaming, so I've had to defend Games Workshop and it's fans(I really don't like GW personally). You have obscured good work by pretending to be gatekeepers, so I have been searching for works, and reviewing them. I only started at the start of 2016. My influence is growing.

You continually create new enemies by shouting them down, disqualifying them, and disowning legends? Congratulations on your victory. Too bad this is a war, not a battle. You will not win. And your reputations lost this day.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Injustice Book Review: A Stitch in Space

Cower not, fierce reader! Today I have an excellent tale for you, that would have remained hidden from us. I was blessed to end up in a conversation with the author, Mr. Christopher Lansdown, through my friend Declan Finn, on Twitter. It was a small, and largely inadequate, conversation about the philosopher Josef Pieper and his Leisure, the Basis of Culture. I checked his profile, and found his books, and I look forward to more conversations with the gentleman.

Onto the crimes against Social Justice this book brings(minor spoilers, I'll try to avoid plot points):

Firstly, and permeatingly, this book follows a priest's journey from Earth to a new parish on a colony world. What criminal acts, to have Catholicism exist that far in the future, and to follow a priest within that time.

Second, our priest is no caricature. He is a real character, with a past, with interests and competencies other than his priesthood. And while Father Xris does evangelize, he never passes judgement or hate, which clearly is in violation of Social Justice. He is not a hypocrite when it comes to sex, and takes his vows seriously.

Thirdly, while we have a setting that is largely unchristian. However, it is not atheist or muslim. No, this future, while it largely abandoned Christianity, has embraced paganism. While the crowd of Social Justice might consider this good initially, they clearly have no knowledge of Christendom's early years. Pagans, that is, true pagans, are looking for truth and things that make life worthwhile. To an atheist, life has no inherent value(or they would not advocate abortion or euthanasia), nor can any revelation of truth change that. The search for truth and value is what opens the honest pagan to the possibility of Christianity.

Fourth, Mr. Lansdown has included at the end of his tome notes for both Christians and atheists. The note to Christians advocates for goodness and patience in evangelism, and the avoidance of shortcuts. His note to atheists defends his characters as pagans and not atheists, and notes his own surprise at their behavior, something I'm led to believe is common by several excellent writers.

For his crimes against Social Justice, I must ask Mr. Lansdown to write more(he only has two books at the moment). This was highly entertaining and properly, an great act of Injustice. 8/10 Fell Deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, August 19, 2016

First thoughts on Columbia Games' The Last Spike

So, Jeffro Johnson put up a post during GenCon about Wizard Kings and how his son loved playing it, and thinking about army construction, etc. I walked over to the Columbia Games booth after finishing my time sitting down, and bought both that game and this one. The Last Spike has already gotten some recognition from Mensa, so it doesn't need my promotion to the mainstream, but there are those that disparage the Mensa lot, so I thought some words might be in order.

This is after one play, so please keep that in mind.

The rules are great, and play is very streamlined. If you end up with a "what if I" question, either they're high or you can find the answer in about 20 seconds and explain inside of another 10. The strongest points for this game are the simplicity of rules, and ease of play. That does not make the game simple to play well. If you have played Acquire, this has a great number of similarities: play a tile, buy some land(if you can). Of course, the differences add up as well, each tile has a cost, and that's doubled if it isn't adjacent to an existing tile or city. If you can't afford to play a tile, sell land until you can, at half price(the only way to sell land). When two cities connect, owning the land in those cities pays out by how many of that land you have. Over time, the game rewards a little more spread in assets than Acquire, as there are no majority bonuses, just payouts.

My only slightly negative comments are with some components, and they're fine, honestly. The board isn't a fully mounted board, but is a nice folding board. The money is wooden discs in 3 colors. I might upgrade to coins at some point, but the discs are fine. I almost would like a deluxe edition with coins, a slightly larger mounted board,  and slightly larger wooden tiles that are stamped instead of the stickers. Again, the components are all fine, and I have no real complaints, as it's all functional, and none of it is unattractive.

This is a fine game for those not into 18xx games, and want something a bit more than Ticket to Ride with railroad games.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Music blog: Andy Irvine with others- Plains of Kildare

With Paul Brady, Donal Lunny, and Kevin Burke.

And to strip it down a bit, with just Paul Brady:

Wonderful, challenging song to play and sing.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

SFF crowdfunding of note: Cirsova magazine and Starship Grifters Universe

Fierce readers, to arms! By arms, I mean pull out your wallet, we have some good material to make happen. Yes, I am advocating Kickstarting two projects at this time. As ones in the future come to my attention that are worthy, I'll post them here also.

Firstly, if you haven't read either of the first issues of CirMsova magazine, you are missing out. There's some fine SFF old school fiction going on within its pages. My favorite entry so far has been the first two parts of My Name is John Carter, which won't continue in these issues, but after them, we hope to see their return. Jeffro Johnson has also written for this magazine, and Misha Burnett put out an excellent Lovecraftian piece set in what he terms Eldritch Earth, which reportedly will occupy an entire issue in the future. Here's the project page, I recommend hardcover.

Secondly, Robert Kroese has a page for a smattering of things in the universe of his Starship Grifters. This book is my current read, and it's a good parody of a certain popular franchise so far. This project has a slew of new things:  an expanded version of a short story, a new novella following a different character in the universe, a sequel novel, and the first novel is in there in case you don't have it. He also has a couple of levels with books by other authors: Nick Cole's Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualteri, and The Last Volunteer by Steve Wetherell. You can get some good value here.

Some of you might wonder why I'm asking you to support projects this way. Bills and expenses have to paid up front. We have authors that are fighting the Narrative, and creating good work. Supporting these voices will mean we're eventually not possible to ignore. Shareholders will see growth outside of mainstream publishing, and perhaps sue over mismanagement. SJWs started a fight amidst the collapse of their side of the genre. Let's get some contrast really showing by growing the opposition.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Music Blog: Bothy Band- Old Hag You Have Killed Me

Why? They were awesome. Also, I'm not one to shy away from great names. Great energy and skill here.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

First thoughts on Star Trek: Ascendancy

I've now played three games of this new release from Gale Force 9, the first at GenCon, and the rest at my local store with friends.

Firstly, what is this game?  It's a 3 player(currently) 4x game. The four exes are Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate. Most of them are big games accommodating more players. This one will eventually expand with new factions, allowing for larger galaxies. In fact, your table size will limit how much this game can sprawl out. Smaller space will make for a faster game, and my recommendation is a lower limit of 3x3(ft.).

One of the things I'm liking very well about this is the rules simplicity. Overall, the rules set things up simply. Turns are fully done in player order, determined at the start of the round. Build phase consists of building ships and control/production features, and progressing research on projects. During the command phase, one has a limited(but improvable) number of actions. Going in and out of warp(sections) with either fleets or ships, building a starbase, starting new research projects, starting a space battle,  and the political and conquering methods of taking over worlds take place here.

So what works differently? Well, planets other than homeworlds can swing freely until they have two connections. Hence the ability to vary the space it takes up. Also, each faction has its own weakness, advantage, and its own technology deck. All of these are constructed to increase the flavor of the Star Trek Universe within the game. Player board are also unique, and are designed after consoles of those races.

As far as game length, right now we're still sitting around 4 hours, but there's always been a completely new player, the learning curve for two of us is disappearing, so hopefully the next one gets faster. Downtime feels pretty minimal, and perhaps we need to speed up reset between rounds, or try one of the variants to speed it up a little. Otherwise, right now this is fighting Scythe for top game of 2016 in my mind.

When you play Social Justice,  the world loses.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dragon Awards Voting is Open!

Yes, DragonCon has announced the shortlists for the inaugural Dragon Awards.  Firstly, I would like to congratulate those nominated.

Now, as to my voting:

Best Science Fiction Novel: Somewhither by John C. Wright

Honestly, nobody else is even close. Gannon isn't bad, but Wright knocked this one way out of the park.

Best Fantasy Novel: Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia

Butcher and Freer might be close, but Larry had the best fantasy novel.

Best YA: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

I haven't read Freer yet, and I need to work him into my reading schedule. Sanderson's good, but his dealings with Tor are moving him out slowly.

Mil SFF: Hell's Foundation by David Weber

Like it's even close. Scalzi has declined the nomination, supposedly to keep a promise that his 2015 work wouldn't get an award. I see two options: 1. He didn't write most of it himself. 2. He wants to spare himself the embarrassment that Weber's fans will give him.

Alt History: Bombs Away: the Hot War by Harry Turtledove

Another that likely won't be close. Williamson's Long Time Until Now might have had a chance.

Apocalyptic: Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole

Marina did good work, and should be ecstatic with her nomination. She earned it, but I think Nick did the better book.

Horror: Souldancer by Brian Niemeier

Likely my hardest choice. Two guys I like that put out excellent novels, and I gotta go with Brian over Declan Finn's Honor at Stake. Sorry my friend, but Vox is right, you're screwed here. By the way, congratulations.

Comic Book: Astro City

It's this or Saga, and Astro City is the most creative mainstream style hero book out there.

Graphic Novel: Sandman: Overture

And I thought earlier categories were blowout choices.

TV Series: The Flash

Lots of decent choices, it'll be interesting.

Movie: Captain America: Civil War

Star Wars will win, but hey.

PC/Console: no opinion

Mobile: Fallout Shelter

Boardgame: Talon by GMT Games

Why is Monopoly Cthulu here? and how on earth is Codenames SFF?

Other tabletop game: Mousguard

I thought there was supposed to be an e in there, but that's what's on the ballot.

Again, this is a really good sign. I'm interested in the nominating numbers. Hopefully they'll put the Hugo stats to shame.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Cicero's On Duties, as translated by Quintus Curtius

Cower not, fierce reader! Today, we have an important tome. Not an easy, nor a fun leisurely read, but rather, a book that may well help you think and live such that the forces of Social Justice cower in fear. As is appropriate for their triggering, this work is from one of ancient Rome's finest philosophers. 

As to the crimes of this book, we have firstly the idea that moral goodness can be properly ascertained. There are no relativistic morals, for these belong to the intemperates that find pain to be the greatest evil. Moral goodness, it is asserted, can be found by the examination of truth, the protection and development of the society of man, a powerful and invincible spirit, and by modest and temperate order and methodology in debate and events. Clearly, Cicero was a criminal of the highest order in his time: daring to assert that truth can be found and is not relative.

The first book(this is structured in three parts) also brings up one of the most important parts of a high trust society: bargaining and acting in good faith. The world has long admired craftiness and deception, and it does indeed have its place. However, that place should be kept to things such as games, war, and proper espionage.  The elevation of deception has been hurting our ability to bargain and deal with each other fairly. Vox Day, for instance, has come to a point of refusing to do taped interviews unless he knows and trusts the interviewer, as the media has repeatedly altered the appearance of his words via cherry picking phrases out of context.

Toward the end of the first book, Cicero also covers appropriate conversation. Piracy, fraud, and adultery are declared immoral, but not discussion thereof. The application to the creation of progeny, on the other hand is the reverse. Of course, this is beyond the pale for the SocJus crowd: they will crow about the crimes of their opponents, hide their own, and talk about sex and the destruction of children all day.

The second book covers the concept of advantageousness, and what it truly is. The cultivation of a reputation for Justice is discussed, and found that cowardice and corruptibility are the opposites, and one without these is tested by fire.

A quick note: Justice is a separate concept form due process at this time, and the economic system is a patron one that is beyond our experience. Land ownership has vastly different qualities, as does citizenship.

Public spending is addressed, and what is the best way of it. Spending on infrastructure over direct monies to the poor are advocated for, as they will make generations wealthier. Charity is commended for sever calamity, and only for those that wish to improve their condition.

Cicero suggests rapid apologies for those one may have accidentally hurt. In the case of actual damage, I would agree, but in this day of perpetual lies and rage, I would largely advocate for Vox Day's rule of never apologizing. Cicero lived in a time when even deceptive men were more honest, and honesty was both respected and revered. Now, lying is seen as acceptable by large masses.

Cicero dealt with advocates for an agrarian "reform" of confiscation and redistribution of land. Cicero found the talk of equal redistribution of land to be a dangerous curse designed to undermine the foundations of the state. Would that Cicero had been more read during FDR's time.

Book three covers the apparent conflict between the two concepts of the earlier books. I say apparent because Cicero gives a fairly decent argument for them not actually being in conflict. Most of this has to do with a larger perspective, that what gives advantage may not appear so in the short term, and what appears to bring disadvantage may in the long term bring the opposite.

Some things which do create conflicts now did not exist then, and these relate mostly to internal matters, rather than dealing with other states. Employment has changed in it's nature greatly, as has the nature of sales and product information. I  make these observations not to discount Cicero, but to ensure that a different society is taken into account.

I know some are wondering why I chose to read, never mind review this text. It is difficult, make no mistake; and that is with the excellent translating skills of Quintus Curtius. I cannot imagine finding a better translation, though I'm certain there are imprecisions here and there. One reason is it remains an excellent book on public action.  The second is that it may help some to explain the popularity of Donald Trump with the masses. He is not bribable, he rewards good work and is generous to those he feels have done service to society. The safety and continuation of his country are what he is campaigning on, and these themes are all covered within, enough to make me wonder if Mr. Trump has read a translation of Cicero.

As a work that promotes the causes of Injustice, by the advocacy of right actions, this is a masterpiece. 9/10 Fell Deeds

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Post GenCon report: winners, things I missed, and the future

I endured 3 of the 4 days of GenCon(skipped out on Sunday), and saw a great many things. Without further adieu, here's a brief report from what I did and saw.


Star Trek: Ascendancy- In my opinion, this was the big winner of the convention. That said, I already had Scythe, and decided against both Seafall and Kingdom Death, for various reasons.  I participated in a demo of the game on Friday, and had a blast playing with three gentlemen that knew each other. We had a blast with the game which is a very thematic 4x game. Game length will vary based on your play group and your initial spacing of homeworlds. Each race has a disadvantage to hinder them in play style, and an advantage to help them, as well as a unique technology deck. Yes, it's only 3 player... for now, Cardassians and Ferengi are supposed to be out by the end of year.

Cephalofair Games- While they did not manage to get any copies of Gloomhaven in time for the convention, they did make an arrangement to sell copies of Scythe for Stonemaier Games. Stonmaier had a demo room, but not a booth, and thus were unable to sell games themselves. I applaud this move to be a little fleible and help another company in the community out.

Mindworm Games- This is a new company with a game that came out of nowhere for me. Exiles is their first game, part skirmish, part roleplay/legacy cooperative jumble. They make all their own components currently(hoping that continues). The only reason I didn't grab it is that I want to see a bit more from them before I dive in.

Floor Space- So, the exhibit hall was expanded a bit, but that's not the only reason it was roomier this year. GenCon expanded into Lucas Oil Stadium this year, and I believe, into another hotel or two. Cosplay and anime events were moved into the stadium, which, while it isolated those groups a bit, made for much more walking space in the con center and exhibit hall.

Near and Far- I know I've already mentioned this game here, but there was some preview material there, including the atlas. I have to say, this game looks good, and the variation within the game has me a bit eager.

Empty Epsilon- While I normally avoid computer games as outside my area, this is a starship bridge simulator using multiple stations. If you've seen the Artemis sim, this appears to be an upgrade on multiple fronts.  No kinks in these systems.

Also, Columbia Games needs to thank Jeffro Johnson for his post on Wizard Kings during GenCon, which got them at least one more sale.

Stuff I Missed:

Coldwater Crown- I forgot to make a note of where this was being demoed, and it wasn't in the exhibit hall. Note for next year: note where everything is that you want to see.

Moonquake Escape- Same as above. I do regret not seeing this.

Lews Pulsipher- He was presenting regarding the new edition of Brittania, which I wanted to see. However, it was at 6 on Friday, and I was already exhausted. (We parked 12 blocks, I'm out of shape, and was dehydrated.) Hopefully he'll post something on his blog.

The Future of GenCon

Given the expansion of the convention, there's no running out of steam here. However, there were two things that gave me cause to think that Vox Day was right in pronouncing an eventual death for GenCon. Firstly, the Code of Conduct type of material is more prevalent, another sign of convergence, in addition to it's lackluster Industry Insider track, with a few exceptions, and one only because he's black, not because he made good games(he has). Alongside this factor was the increase of "Gaymer" , etc., tags, and a lack of tolerance for Christianity.  Secondly, the level of creativity in new games seems to be down from previous years. This also is indicative of convergence, as seen in the nearby field of SFF.  I hope Vox is wrong, but at this point I fear he may be right.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

GenCon approaching!

Tomorrow starts GenCon, the biggest tabletop convention in the USA. As I will be in attendance, the blog will be going silent until at least Sunday. I'll try to post some pics and thoughts from GenCon on my Twitter feed. My list of games worth checking out can be found here.

If this interests you, or you're attending and want to potentially meet amid the SJW noise, it's @aelfredofwessex.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Near and Far: another Kickstarter post, and related works

For my boardgaming followers, I'm going to encourage you to take a look at Ryan Laukat's newest offering, Near and Far. While this game's campaign doesn't need anymore help at this point, I know I also get some legacy readers, so there's that as well. For those that make it to GenCon this week, I encourage you to check it out.

For those not familiar with Mr. Laukat's work, he does all the design and graphic design for his games that he publishes, and has published one other persons work with his graphic design. I don't have all of it, but I'll give a quick rundown of what I do have, and then discuss what's cool about this game.

Eight Minute Empire:  This is a quirky little area control game with set collection, auctions, and only an initial money count. Yes, it plays in 8-12 minutes.  It feels good for that, and not like microgames like Love Letter, in that there are real choices to be made.

Artifacts, Inc.:  A worker placement/set collecting game with dice rolling to acquire goods for points. Different workers have better abilities, buildings can be upgraded, and you can dive for artifacts. 30 minutes of fun.

The Ancient World- Another worker placement with dice. Another implementation of set collection. Your village is facing Titans in a last stand. Unique to this is the experience added by previous troops when you recruit new ones.

Above and Below: The true predecessor of Near and Far. Explore caves, build your village, and collect good types. The exploration occurs via a deck of cave cards that link to a set of encounter stories in a book. Several plays in, and each is different.

Islebound:  The most recent of Laukat's games. You guessed it, another worker placement idea. Here you move your ship, and explore or conquer an island in the archipelago. I have yet to play this one, but am excited about the workers, as the reverse will work in Above and Below.

There are a few I haven't gotten, but these are the ones I've experienced a bit.

Now, to our feature attraction.

Near and Far is going to have an atlas with a total of 11 map boards, and five alternate game modes. The maps will tie to an encounter book like Above and Below, and will be larger, with more long term effects, due to the game modes. Game modes include a first adventure (first play), Campaign mode (10 games on 10 maps), Story mode (3 or 4 games), and an arcade mode that won't use the storybook, but a set of cards. The campaign and story modes are going to be akin to a legacy game in that your character will grow in ability.

So, Mr. Laukat likes to design interesting takes on Worker Placement and Set Collection. The games play differently, and all feel a bit different. My only other comment that might be negative is that his games only accommodate 2-4 players.; I personally try to avoid that count at this time, as 5 and 6 players are not that hard to reach.  I hope he keeps up the good work.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.