Category: Off topic

Happy Holidays

Will be out and about. Looking forward to picking up a few gaming goodies while doing so. Hope folks have an enjoyable time over the holidays and get some gaming with friends and family in.

c4ad4-walken

2015 gaming (and some blogging) resolutions

Another year has rolled around. Looking back I dabble in a lot of different gaming topics. I’m sort of all over the place. Unfortunately it does leave of a lot of unfinished projects lying around. Especially with my miniature wargaming, I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew. So I’m hoping this year to get some more focus with my hobby.

Get Pacific terrain done – Working with 20mm WW2 stuff, I really want to get more Pacific-themed terrain finished. I made a decent stab at western European buildings and such, but my Pacific terrain is lacking. Having some buildings and jungle terrain is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have never gotten around to. I need to rectify that.

Paint at least 80% of what I own – This isn’t monumental but it’s a heavy load to lift. I’ve accumulated a lot of different armies over the past few years and I really want to get them painted. I still have a 15 mm sci-fi platoon to paint up, along with a bunch of bugs, APCs, and a few tanks. Getting those done would be nice.

I have made a ton of progress with my Bolt Action stuff. I’ve got Germans, British, Japanese, and Pacific US Army platoons painted all in 20 mm. I’ve got a British paratroop platoon to work on. Along with some more armor kits to paint up. The big task will be to get my 28mm Russians painted. Not sure how much of a dent I can make into those ruskies at the end of the year, but I want to try.

I’ve also got a Relthoza Firestorm Armada fleet to work on, not to mention my SAGA Viking and Saxon warbands, and a Flames of War Russian infantry division to finish. The latter is really on my back (back, back) burner as I haven’t played FoW in years. I might look into an alternative ruleset to FoW so I can kickstart my desire to get back into WW2 15mm

Find skirmish sci-fi rules I like… – Over the years I’ve picked up several rules for sci-fi wargames, including making some alternatives to existing rules. There are quality rules out there but nothing that I quite like. I was gung ho to jump into Beyond the Gates of Antares however there are some aspects to the rules that I find clunky. Still on the prowl for something I would enjoy more.

…or write some of sci-fi rules of my own. – A few thoughts on a rule set have been rolling around my head though. I’d like a platoon skirmish system that doesn’t require a ton of bookkeeping and charts. Maybe a bit of rules for some armor. I really want to dabble in a fog of war system too. What I want is a little specific to what’s out there, so I’m considering working on a set of rules of my own making.

Buy RPGs I’ll play – I’ve adopted this already in 2014 and will be sticking to it. Over the years I bought a lot of books. I ended up dumping most and decided from now on to get books for games I plan on playing. Savage Worlds will likely be on that list for some setting specific books. I’m on the fence for D&D though. No clue if I will be running a game any time soon. I’ve got the starter set and will probably get the PDFs bound, but don’t see me buying the core books unless I can get a game going. Unfortunately, my group is pretty keen on other RPGs so not sure if 5E is in the cards for me.

Get more board game reviews done – I have a decent collection of board games. I really want to get a good chunk of my games reviewed. Very slowly I’ve been building a base of reviews and linking them to the Board Game Geek site. I enjoy making a contribution to that community. I might have to dabble in some tabletop wargame reviews also.

Compile my Expeditions of Amazing Adventure posts – There is an entire campaign setting there. Throw them together with a map. Flesh out some details on locations. Add a few more locations of interest. Yeah, there is something I could do with that for a fantasy setting. I want to get that done, along with adding a few more locales.

Revisit ASTRO Colony – A long while back I worked on a classroom social studies exercise, where students were different factions of a space colony, all trying to be the lead party in an election so they could gain resources and goals specific for their faction. They had to work with other faction groups to gain a simple majority by vote. It was an exercise to illustrate the how unyielding positions on certain platforms, and still being able to compromise, is a difficult issue for political parties. Especially if their own goals go against the immediate needs of the general public.

At it’s core, I’m happy with how ASTRO colony worked out. However I really need to clean the document up more. The presentation of the material is also unwieldy. I want to get an updated version of that done.

So that’s about it. It’s a pretty long list of goals. Hee. It’ll be interesting how many of these resolutions I can keep for the upcoming year. I sincerely hope folks have a wonderful New Year, and get a lot of gaming in with family and friends over 2015.

Off for a while

Will be out of the country a bit again. This time for holiday. My blog will be on autopilot for a while so expect a few posts slowly dribble out while I’m away.

Until then enjoy a map from Dungeon of Signs and be sure to dig through their blog. Tons of inspirational images and maps are there, not to mention a few choice articles.

300 posts

If you’d asked me in 2009 if I’d still be blogging in five years, well I’d probably be shaking my head. RPGs and gaming are fun pastimes, but I figured I’d be running out of things to post and chat about. Seems I am a long-winded blowhard when it comes to gaming.

Now that the Lunar New Year is coming up, I’ve been reflecting a bit on my blog. While the focus of the blog has become more diverse from when I first started, it’s still very much a place where I get to talk about games. I like that and found blogging has actually has kept me engaged more in the hobby. I’ve gotten a chance to chat and interact with a lot of great people over the years and hope fans of my blog can still occasionally find something here worthwhile reading.

Thanks for being part of this. Here’s to another 300 posts.

Happy Holidays

I sincerely hope folks have a happy holidays. Sort of a strange time of the year for me in Korea as it always feels somewhat like Christmas is around the corner, but not quite. So I hope people are able to get with friends and family over the next few weeks (or with them now, happy Hanukkah!). I also hope folks are able to have some time to get a little gaming in too. Cheers!

State of Decay – Screw you lefties on the PC, but thanks for the cash.

For a while now on Steam the zombie survival game, State of Decay, has been out. It was in a ‘early-release’ state with some keyboard support, but mostly an early version of the game for people to tool around with and help find any major bugs. I picked it up and had fun with it, however there wasn’t any functional key binding. As a left-handed person being stuck with the WASD keys is pretty awkward. I dabbled in it for a while but with having to react and move quickly (not to mention long play sessions) it just wasn’t comfortable and downright unplayable for me. I wasn’t too miffed because I knew the game was in early release.

Now the game has rolled out as a full release and key binding is not supported. It’s slated for work to be rolled into another patch at some future date. What I take from this is that for a full feature release of the PC game, key mapping is not a critical aspect of the player experience. It’s window dressing. A nice feature to have but not critical to player enjoyment. I.E. For 10% of the PC users out there, we don’t feel that providing a feature for you to play this PC game is important to our overall market.

It blows my mind that PC games still lack key binding features. Undead Labs isn’t the only one to tell lefties to sit it out with their games. The Walking Dead from Telltale Games had a similar issue. While at least the arrow keys could be used for navigation. Having to rapidly use the Q and E keys for certain parts of the game sucked for lefties. Fortunately it wasn’t quite an action game and the player could make a mad scramble to another part of the keyboard. It wasn’t game breaking, but it sure wasn’t convenient.

Another nightmare was EA’s Dead Space. Somehow the arrow keys for that game were unmappable on the PC. I opted to adopt some weird numberpad layout to use for movement over the typical arrow keys I’d use. So with needing some quick moves and reactions, I’d occasionally goof up and end up munched. Also adopting a different hand posture on the keyboard made longer play sessions uncomfortable.

It’s unfortunate key mapping is still an issue for PC games. I don’t even bother trying to track down if remapping keys is supported. I just assume it’s a feature. But clearly some PC developers still consider it non-essential feature to be pushed off in a later patch (and in some cases never addressed). It sucks. I guess they get the last laugh as they have my money.

Undead Labs, be certain I won’t be buying any DLC until remapping is an option for your PC games. I get that I am a minority of users and it’s just not worth the effort from your company to provide us with tools to enjoy your games. But that doesn’t endear me to your product whatsoever. Hope in the future you consider key mapping a more critical aspect of your games.

I like dumbed down games

So for the past few weeks I’ve been puttering around with Mechwarrior Online. I think there is a great game there, but it has this steep learning curve. So much so I’m not sure if I’ll take the plunge.

I used to pooh-pooh simpler computer games. I’d revel in crunchy games with lots of working parts and huge manuals to go through. I mean it. I used to play Falcon on my old DOS 486. The manual was this thick technical bulky thing. Wolfenstein 3D had it’s place on my hard drive, but somehow I found it fun trying not just to master, but learn how to play these other simulation games. Mechwarrior online has a lot of crunchy bits to it. ECM, weapon groups, NARC beacons, it reminds me a lot of the old Mechwarrior computer games of past. Problem is now I’m just not that interested in making the effort to play these games. It’s just too much time to learn all the icons, commands, and understand the principles of the game. It’s just not that much fun any more.

I also regularly delve into World of Tanks. There is some meat with this game. There is a lot of background mechanics with how shell penetration works. Sighting the enemy, radio communication, and camouflage, not to mention how different the various armor plays, all take a bit of time to master. Still the game was very approachable initially with simple arcade controls for moving and shooting. And even if I didn’t do great in a match, I felt like I could contribute to a win.

MWO has a completely different feel. The learning curve for simple operation of your mech is pretty huge. Sadly, if one player is not pulling their weight, it can drag the entire team down. So this compounds the pressure for learning the ropes as quickly as possible. You need to get matches under your belt to learn the game, but at the same time hampering the fun of those that know what the hell they are doing. After scouring through online guides and watching training videos, I began to wonder if it’s worth the effort.

It dawned on me then that I’ve become that guy wanting simple games. I have limited free time and want to spend that having fun and playing, not spending all my time trying to learn new systems. This has also crept into my RPG habits. I used to love trying out all sorts of new systems, but lately I’ve gotten to this saturation point where I want to stick with things I know. I’ll branch out but only if the rules can be printed on a matchbook. Revisiting Champions and the Hero system or GURPS is not something I am so keen on, whereas something new like Dungeon World seems something right up my alley.

For game designers, I think this is a huge obstacle. How do you make a game approachable, as well as have enough meat in the mechanics to keep it interesting. Make it too simple and folks lose interest. Make the game too difficult and folks won’t even bother trying to learn how to play. For MWO, I think they’ve stuck to their guns and made a game for fans which like the crunchy technical stuff, that have the time and desire to learn how things work in the game. It’s not something I’m keen on, but my gaming tastes have changed. I’ve come to realize I’m starting to enjoy the dumbed down version of games more.

Going the route of a comment-less blog

I’ve opted recently to remove comments from my blog. Long ago I felt it was a great way to drum up traffic and interact with people. I’ve tapered off the number of posts I’m putting up every month. In addition to that I was not really using tools to regularly keep up on new comments. Because of that, a few comments in the past got caught up in my spam filter.

How I interact with people online has changed and grown beyond my blog. I dabble regularly on twitter and G+ (click the buttons to the right). I’ve found as I frequent those more, and along with hashtags and communities I can promote posts and have a forum for more intensive discussion. Just utilizing comments here doesn’t cut it any more.

I have been exceedingly fortunate in never having any trolling comments for my blog. I’ve always gotten great comments from folks. Probably the most harsh one I had gotten was related to my city chase skill challenge post which I completely deserved (had to delete it due to foul language, but they very rightfully and succinctly pointed out my folly for depending on spell check too much and that ‘lose’ and ‘loose’ are not interchangeable).

I have had a problem with spam. Most get caught up with the captcha, yet I’ve had to resort to moderating comments over 30 days. My spam filters are pretty good, but I still get a fair clip of spam comments. Which makes me wonder about the effectiveness of keeping that up on my blog as a feature. I don’t think it is. Too much spam. Too infrequent with me checking up on my posts. I’d rather have discussion on my blog topics elsewhere. So I’ll stick to keeping this as a place to shout out my idiocy/thoughts on gaming. I encourage folks to add me on twitter and G+ and feel free to rant about this blog, especially on those social media venues.

Slowing down

Things are really ramping up with me work-wise this year, including a lot of projects out of the country. That means more traveling and basically tons more to do. I sorta eluded to this earlier during the year, but still have managed to get something in once a week.

Now it seems that I’m not sure I can keep up with that pace, so I’ll be posting every other week or so. Hopefully try to get three or so posts up a month but we’ll see about that. So feel free to subscribe via RSS or twitter to keep up on future posts. I’ll still be around (4 years!), just maybe not as prolific as before.