The Plant

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The first of my solo game reviews. This is a free game which needs a few index cards and a pen to play. It’s a sad tale, something which I’ve often found with these solo games. It’s also by the legend behind Fiasco.
The game has you looking for your daughter in an old factory where you used to work.
My review is here
The game is here

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Cards Against Humanity is Shit, Here Are Some Better Alternatives

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Possibly my most popular article? With a clickbaity name like that, how couldn’t it be?
This is about the “talking crap with your friends” game recommendation list, along with my criticisms of Cards Against Humanity. It was surprisingly well-received and I really hope people have tried out any of the games I’ve recommended instead. They’re a much better use of your time.

You can find it here

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Souls of Steel Preview

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I adore the Powered by the Apocalypse toolset for story games, I’m also a fan of Gundam and Pacific Rim. This game is one about mech pilots in a BSG/Starship Troopers/Gundam type universe flying through space and having heated drama between battles. It’s the way I prefer doing these kind of war stories.
I requested a playtest copy of Souls of Steel a while ago. The game itself isn’t out yet, but here are my experiences with the game.

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Like Mad Max, Why Not Try Apocalypse World?

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The first of my two attention-seeking titles for articles. This one is about my love of Mad Max Fury Road and how you can replicate that sort of experience with the storytelling game, Apocalypse World.

I also wax poetic about my love of the Powered by the Apocalypse system which Apocalypse World started. It was a huge revolution in a system people could use for interesting story games. Compared to the d20 system of old, it could reflect the themes of a setting without boiling all of the games in the system into the same sort of experience.

You can find it here.

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Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

I’ve been massively behind on posting things I’ve done to my site. Part of this is the horrors of this year, and part is simply forgetting to do it in amongst the rest of my productivity.

The first post will be the biggest. This is my Actual Play of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition’s “Hoard of the Dragon Queen”. The campaign isn’t great, the system’s possibly the best official D&D game I’ve played (the best unofficial one being Dungeon World).

If you like hearing about a chaotic mess of a group doing heroic actions despite themselves, whether you’re a roleplayer or not, hopefully you’ll enjoy these posts:

Episode Minus One – Casting True Resurrection on Dungeons & Dragons
Episode Zero – Character Creation
Episode One, Part One – Deer Collision
Episode One, Part Two – You Must Construct Additional Pylons
Episode One, Part Three – Angry Dwarven Pooing
Episode Two – Spiderweb of Legs
Episode Three, Part One – Violent Fungus
Episode Three, Part Two – Awful Poetry About Dragons
Session Four, Part One – Phontyr’s Unicorn (the best session, if you’re only reading one)
Session Four, Part Two – Caravan Guards (disappointed sigh)
Session Four, Part Three – Stagles!
Session Five & Six, Part One – Half-Orc Patrick Swayze
Session Six, Part Two – The Liftron Elf Con
Session Six, Part Three – Dragon on a Hot Tin Roof
Session Six, Part Four – Fabulous Crocodile Hat
Session Seven – Death at Two and a Half Feet
Session Eight – Joggorilla

Jesus, so many sessions. I feel so sorry for my group. Hopefully the titles of the sessions alone will be tantalising. If not, I’ll be getting back onto other things soon. I do post comic reviews to G+ and book reviews on Goodreads, I may end up posting them here, too.

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Personal Update

I’ve not posted here in a long time and while I have some ideas for things to write and articles on other sites to link to, I thought it would be best to address my absence first.

At some point in the future I’ll go into things in much greater detail than I go into here, when I’m able to find the words more easily. The shortest version for people is that in January, my mother fell ill. She passed away in March and I’ve had to do a lot since then. I still have a lot to do.

Continue reading

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8 Ways to Survive, the overly-specific 2015 edition

DON’T DIE
This is thing number one if you want to survive the year. Breathing is good, some might say essential. Food and water in and out of the right holes. Coffee is pretty good, too. Don’t get run over by a car, don’t get stabbed with any sharp objects, don’t taunt a robber. Don’t go on fire… I’m sure there are several more. Not dying is pretty good, I recommend it.

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DON’T BE A MAYFLY
The common mayfly has a lifespan of 24 hours, the chumps. If you want to survive for a whole year, don’t be a mayfly. They’re such idiots they probably don’t even know how doomed they are. Idiots.

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GIRLFRIEND
As it turns out, asking out a woman you’re infatuated with is not going to kill you. My dating life has been sporadic enough that it’s good to be reminded of this. Admittedly my asking out Emma was akin to the awkwardness of Kingpin asking out Vanessa Marianna in Daredevil. Fortunately Emma quite liked the Wilson/Vanessa romance.
I met Emma in NaNoWriMo 2014 (as I said in previous posts, NaNoWriMo has been very good for me) and when she helped me out with running events in 2015 we were texting every day about that, then not just about that, then it reached a point where I was on one of my late evening anxiety walks around the neighbourhood and told myself that I had to actually ask her out by the time I reached a windmill I often use as a landmark. By the time I reached somewhere in Hove I had a response and on that date was where my mumbling, Kingpin-esque attempt at properly making sure this was a date and that there would be more happened.
I admit, I’m not the best person at emotions outside of the popular culture, so our relationship has been a great time and a bit of a learning experience. Fortunately she is patient, funny, just morbid enough and a fellow writer so events like NaNoWriMo mean that I don’t just vanish from her life like I do my flatmates and family. Emma has been a great way to not just survive 2015 but to make it the best year.

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PLANS
Well, they didn’t all come to fruition but much like the, ‘asking out the woman you love doesn’t kill you’, neither does commissioning someone you respect to do something. I was paralysed by the prospect of not having a cover artist for Lightning and the demoralising nature of not knowing how/where to go for this caused me to freeze up and has now delayed things. The great part of this is that I now have a cover artist. I have modified my plans for Lightning and continue to do so. I also have several other plans from role-playing campaigns with the In-Fighters, reviews and articles, the possible resurrection of D+Pad Magazine. I always like to plan a million things as I feel it gives you reasons to continue, reasons to keep fighting and pushing. Even if you get only half a million things done, that’s still half a million things.

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FRIENDS
Looking back at the year, I know too many people. People are great and as much as I’m an introvert, I’m also really quite socially dependent. Balancing those two things is generally quite interesting as it means getting cave time and trying to organise the aforementioned million things. Friends are a lifeline, whether depressed, angry, in need of inspiration, help or just warm bodies to play games, they’re a definite must for survival, including:

The In-Fighters
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The Huddlemen
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My colleagues
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My wonderful, horrendous family
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The Who Dares Rolls crew
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And the brilliant Brighton Wrimos, both the mainstays and the newcomers
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WRITING
I wrote 301,233 words in the last year. That includes writing prose, articles, reviews, too few blog posts, edits. There are too many orphans in my writing. My comic reviews really fell behind but that’s part of this one. Write loads, but don’t write unnecessarily if it’s not doing enough for you. I’m skipping ahead with my G+ comic reviews and will be catching up with what I had before. I allowed myself the occasional day off, especially once I started dating. I’m sporadically prolific with Who Dares Rolls and busily working on Lightning. The NaNoWriMo project will need to be shelved, reviewed and rewritten, I feel.
I’ve tried life without writing when I was a teenager and that can’t happen. It just can’t. I didn’t stop and I didn’t die, so this is another essential one.

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SPREADSHEETS
Ah, spreadsheets. My loves in order are Emma, coffee and then spreadsheets. I have been called strange for suggesting that if man and software could marry then I would make Excel my wife. This was before I was dating, which I’m sure makes that kind of statement fine. The vast amounts of popular culture I ingest are recorded on a spreadsheet to remind me where I’m at when there could be months between me watching episodes of Fargo or trying to pick which novel to read next on my Kindle. I also have the spreadsheet I open most days, which is my word count spreadsheet. Without it I wouldn’t know how much I’ve been doing, what I’ve been writing lately and probably should keep writing. Organisation isn’t necessarily survival, but for me I go so far the other way without these kind of tools that I’d probably be lost and eaten by wolves without a touchstone like this.

You are spared a picture of spreadsheets, even I can’t make them look awesome.

NO OWLS
Owls are literally the worst. I have not encountered an owl and therefore am still alive.

 

Evil Owl

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