A couple years ago I briefly got back into table top gaming, building up a Blood Bowl collection, and gathering up all my old RPG books and games from attic storage up in Vermont. It was a fun summer/fall, but less people got into it than I hoped, and at the end of the day it became another thing I had to organize (I have way too many things on that list). After a year boxed up it’s time to let that hobby go to make space for a Solar Telescope.
I’ve started posting the Blood Bowl teams up on ebay (lots more to come, including some of the 1st ed stuff I bought back in the early 90s). There are also a whole bunch of 1st and 2nd ED AD&D books that I’ll get around to posting over the next couple of weeks, and some other random bits of games. If any of that is of interest to anyone, feel free to let me know.
Today I learned:
The Play Station (as it was originally called) started out as a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo, until the deal was broken in a very public way and Philips entered into a similar partnership with Nintendo. The Philips and Nintendo combination ended with some terrible licensed games on the CD-i platform and nothing else. Sadly for Nintendo, Sony was infuriated by the double-cross and vowed to enter the gaming market. Rarely has revenge tasted so sweet.
Apparently spite is the step-mother of invention.
Pandemic is a really amazing game. Instead of players playing against each other, you are playing against the game mechanics to try to cure the world of 4 diseases that are breaking out in different geographies. Difficulty level can be adjusted by setting the frequency of the outbreaks.
The noob level of pandemic is 4 epidemics. Susan and I can pretty much beat every instance of that. Last night we managed our first victory at the 5 epidemic level (after a fare number of losses). For anyone that knows the game, they’ll notice we were at our final outbreak level when we won.
When I was 12 my friend Travis introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, which led to a 4 year romp through all manner of Role Playing Games and Table Top Games. The list is extensive, and I’ve honestly probably complete forgot the names of most of them, as I realized in catching up with Jay on facebook last night. We even wrote our own game, and 85 page rulebook, during that time. It was the earliest piece of creative construction that I’m really proud of.
But 4 years after 12, you turn 16, discover girls, get in fights with friends (often over the girls), and assume everything is *so important* all the time (definitely including the girls). The games were left behind as a casualty of growing up, and an attempt to change image from being “one of those geeks” to something else.
At the age of 32 I happily accept and embrace my geekiness. Recently Pyg (local friend, and an avid gamer) started talking about blood bowl again. Of all the games I left behind, that was probably my favorite. Think rugby meets lord of the rings. It’s played with miniatures on a table top pitch.
I kept thinking, and saying, “I’d be up for giving that a shot again”. Pyg printed out a couple of copies of the living rules for us to read up on, and finally we got a free evening for both of us to give it a shot. We’ve played a couple of games now, and have finally sorted out the rules again, which have evolved quite a bit since I bought my set back in 1991.
It’s a heck of a lot of fun, leading to some epic moments as when Pyg had completely knocked out every single player I had with time running out, while he was behind by 1 TD (some of that was because we were interpretting rules a bit wrong, but it’s level of epic was pretty impressive.)
It takes about 3 hours to run a match, and is a great thing to do over beer and wings. I’m looking forward to our next match now that we’ve got a clearer view on the rules, and we can actually start building some teams that last beyond just a single match.
Content was low on this site last week for a reason, I got sucked into EVE Online, which has a Linux client (though the advanced shaders don’t work on Linux so it doesn’t look quite as cool as that screen shot). EVE is an MMOG that is on universal scale. There are something like 5000 star systems in the environment (I’ve been to about 10 now). The environment is basically always running, which means your character progresses in his training whether or not you are in the environment.
They are striking an interesting balance between real persistence and fake scenarios to give players more to do. If you get a mission from an Agent (who is an NPC), that mission occurs in “dead space”, i.e. off the disc of a solar system, with the Agent’s coordinates to get you there. Unfortunately those areas are wiped clean pretty quickly after the mission is completed, which I found pretty annoying. On one of the missions I went on there were some valuable asteroids there, which I bookmarked, ran away, and ran back with mining equipment to mine. The ship wrecks were there when I got back, but the asteroids were not. It is a minor ding against a game like this, but one that did break the illusion that the environment was there whether or not anyone was watching it.
All in all, the game is incredible. I shouldn’t have started it prior to my grad class kicking off this semester, as I don’t really have the time to play. However, given that you can just train sitting on a station, I’ll probably sign up to keep the account and play a bit on weekends from time to time. It is a nice distraction.
I was reading Matt’s blog over the weekend and found out there was supported Linux version for Eve Online. Eve Online is a MMOG in deep space, with 5000 solar systems in the environment. You start off with a little ship, and you make money over time via mining, fighting pirates, or, in the more unruly areas, waging war on other players. They’ve designed a pretty reasonable model for new players coming online by having security ratings on zones. In high security zones if people attack each other, the feds go after them. In low security regions, you can do whatever you like.
I created a trial account to check it out, and am massively impressed. I has the base feel of Mechwarrior (the original late 80s game), but with a lot more possibilities. Because your character gains skills even when you aren’t connected, it allows for a more leisurely use of the game (instead of the WoW phenomena of “can’t eat, raid. can’t sleep, raid. can’t talk, raid”).
I’m Neas Bade in world (matching up with my Second Life ID), so if you happen to be on, feel free to find me.