Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Music: "Sunshine and Chocolate" by Semisonic

I know two things about this band:
1) I like them.
2) How to link their website.

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's the Magic: Spellslinging

So I've been thinking about a variant that focuses on instants and sorceries.

The Player
Players can be of any color or colors they choose. This should be clearly declared at the beginning of play. Players act as 0/0 creatures. Players may be targeted, enchanted, or affected as a creature on the battlefield, but they never leave the battlefield. Effects that would do this (destroy, exile, return to hand, etc.) can still target players, but it does not move the player to another zone (it unequips them instead). A player is their own controller and may not change controllers or be sacrificed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Game's the Thing: Strategic RPG

Technically, I’m in a committed ‘projects’ with Terry/Richard right now, but we all know how crap I am at commitment.

Most of the people I game with know that I’ve long wanted to run a Strategic Game where each player runs their own nation. Something like Risk, but with more granularity. The guys who ran Battletech released one a few years ago that (surprise) wasn’t well play tested, was missing some rules, contradicted itself in parts, and (of course) required a 5th dimensional spreadsheet to play. None the less, my appetite was thoroughly whetted by this disaster of a game.

Why? Masochism.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Prisoner: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling

I recently purchased--at the unspoken behest of the geek hive mind--the classic BBC series The Prisoner. I'm watching it offshore to pass the time and sharing spoiler-free responses/reviews with the internet without provocation, cause, or request because that's what the internet is for. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 31

Every Tuesday I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

However, if Batman is merely good at surrounding himself with morally non-challenging figures, Doctor Doom must have a post-graduate degree in it. Even getting beaten by That Accursed Richards over and over again hasn’t taught him to respect Reed. Getting captured and dethroned by The Avengers wasn’t enough for him to show Osborne any respect when Osborne was offering to release him. He and Namor famously toast one another only to stick knives in each others' backs. Look, I’m not saying that Doctor Doom is dumb; he is obviously gifted in the areas of science and magic, but ‘learning that some people will kick your ass unless you step up your game‘ is apparently the great balancing element of his intellect. Perhaps even overbalancing. Doctor Doom is both incapable and unwilling to hear the voices of failure which surround him. Don’t get me wrong; against anyone who doesn’t have their own comic, Doctor Doom will destroy you like the flotsam you are, but once you get an important character, there will be some technobabble, Doom will get overconfident, and then he will find himself in over his head and be defeated.

Monday, July 25, 2011

GoMnomnom: Heavy Things

Things are going pretty well. I've got less than a week left out here. It feels long, but I can't complain. One of my bosses has been more mellow since he got back from vacation and the other one seems preoccupied with getting me to laugh. As long as the second one doesn't start pulling boners or killing folks with fish, I can accept that.
I forgot my electric razor in my suitcase at Terry's and I only brought three disposable razors out here, but the kicker is that I put off shaving until I had a full, bushy beard and now I'm not sure if three disposables will be enough to cut through the beardiness. Oh, the drama!

Anyway, I'm building up the pad for my time at home and trying to work on some actual fiction (in addition to two tiny projects I'm doing). Look forward to more 7252, more 1000 Words, more Sunday Morning Soapboxes, some Actual Fiction, and more of The Prisoner (of course more Prisoner).


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekend Music: "Punch In, Punch Out" by Seven Mary Three

I know two things about this band:
1) I like them.
2) How to link their website.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's the Magic: Saying Hello to Magic 2012

Old Times
“Hey, Merfolk Looter. Didn’t see you there. When did you get back into town?”
“Oh really? the 16th? Where’ve you—“
“…oh. I guess that answers my question about whether you want a drink or not.”
“…look, Mer, there’s something I wanted to say before you left; I’m sorry. I…I just wanted that deck to work so badly—“ 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Game’s The Thing: Collective Settings

So, raise your hand if this is familiar: You’re running a roleplaying game. You’ve put a lot of work into the setting. It’s not modern day Earth or a popular franchise everyone is familiar with. Your characters don’t know where they came from, have no idea where they are, and don’t @&$^ing care either. They don’t engage the setting and since in most roleplaying games, you can’t go too far wrong by rolling initiative against the guy with the thinnest mustache, they make a habit of driving the razor blade industry and wenching with Dwarven women.

Not their fault. No one wants to play the political game and get tripped up on some nuances they missed because either the storyteller didn’t make it clear enough or because they forgot, what with having a life, family, job, etc..

But what if players got to help make the setting?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Prisoner: Hammer into Anvil

I haven’t watched any of The Prisoner since around the time that I posted “The General,” as I was waiting for my blogs to catch up with my viewing. Now, as I watch credits for “Hammer into Anvil,” I have time to think about how excited I am to be watching again. The last month? was rough, but after the next five episodes, I’ll have to live years without being able to look forward to new episodes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 30

Every Tuesday I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites. 

It isn’t just that Batman is so much better at thinking these things through, it’s that he doesn’t need adulation for it. The same can be said of Spider-Man and Superman, though while they don’t need applause or approval, they do take heed of criticism. This is what makes them humble characters while Batman rides an interesting line between that particular definition of humble and Doctor Doom’s level of social neediness. Batman’s independent nature, perhaps existing almost outside of normal human social interaction is part of what makes him a wish-fulfillment character; our interactions with others are necessary, but many believe that if they weren’t, our lives would be much simpler.  Getting rid of the tedious, mundane human interactions is one aspect that makes him a fun character. Though it doesn’t make him heroic, it does enable him to be more heroic, as he never has to deal with or compromise on moral dilemmas concerning loved ones, wives, parents, etc..

Monday, July 18, 2011

GoMnomnom: Time Served

I can't tell you guys how great it is to have a blog, a schedule, and a few days of responsible pad in case something goes horribly wrong. It's all grown up and...predictable.
Having a time table in your life, a rhythm is one of those surprisingly cool mature things. I

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Music: "Life is Beautiful" by Vega4

I know two things about this band:

1) I like them.
2) How to link their uh, myspace.

Should be the last of the cheesy, positive Weekend Musics for a while.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's the Magic: Boat Drafting

New Hotness
So, I ordered a set of 12 booster packs from each of The Scars of Mirrodin block. Ideally, I could draft it with friends and become familiar with the rise of Phyrexia over Mirrodin and get familiar with the block. Eventually, I just said "fuck it" and brought it out on the boat to draft solo.

I was going to blog about all of the fun plays and things I learned about Scars of Mirrodin, but I just didn't work. It was boring. Just juggling mana drops and card draw until one side could break through. I had a Rot Wolf versus two other creatures and everyone was swinging all in. The Rot Wolf only lost because the other guy played a Mutagenic Growth that made their infect guy just big enough to get the last poison counter.

It was an ugly win, but then any win with Mutagenic Growth is.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

X-Men as a Metaphor

I was recently reading MGK (who is awesome) and he wrote a piece on the X-Men and why they aren’t so great. I’m with him 50/50 on that, but what was noticeable about the comments (aside from being comments on the internet and making me sad inside) is that someone mentioned that the X-Men don’t work as a metaphor for oppressed minorities because oppressed minorities can’t shoot lasers out of their eyes.

Considerations for trolling aside, it’s worth a few words about why the X-Men are potentially representatives for minorities that are discriminated against and why they haven’t really done that so well thus far.

The concept that mutants shouldn’t be trusted because they are ‘persons of mass destruction’ is a fallacious one. It assumes that mutants are dangerous and non-mutants are not. Most people are dangerous; any one of us could, at any moment, probably take one of the unsuspecting drones around us down. I guess the concern of scale could be brought up; if Colossus went on a rampage through a shopping mall, you’d need a tank to stop him. Naturally, you’d want to follow him with a tank at all times. That would probably prevent him from going on any rampages at all. If he wants to go somewhere that you can’t bring the tank, he just shouldn’t be allowed to go there.

That’s obviously all wrong. In The United States, citizens are allowed to own firearms. We are allowed to buy all manner of things that we could turn into destructive, damaging weapons (chemicals, trucks, trebuchets). We have a pact with each other that we just aren’t going to hurt each other. The goal of a successful society isn’t to keep people from having the ability to harm one another, but to have people who wouldn’t want to do so.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Prisoner: Change of Mind

Don’t think for a moment that because I kid a lot about mind control and the credits that I don’t squeal with anticipation at every new episode. Don’t think I wasn’t filled with dread when I realized “Change of Mind” is the first of the last seven episodes of The Prisoner I will ever see; the ‘back half’ of our course in fine, trans-Atlantic broadcasting from years now gone. I really like this show, but only these last episodes will tell me, truly, if to know this series is to love it and if knowing it is loving it.

And I want to love it.

Me: "'Change of Mind’ ho-ho-ho, someone isn’t afraid of letting me know when an episode is about mind control?,” launches into a Seinfeld impersonation at least fifteen years after it’s funny, “But the jokes on them; we already know it’s about mind control. Who are these people?”

The Prisoner episode, “Change of Mind”: “And that’s exactly what he’ll expect too.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 29

Every Tuesday I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Doctor Doom is a character who feels his obvious greatness must be recognized by the world. He’s his own biggest cheerleader (his ‘man alone’ persona and mom being in Hell makes that something of a necessity, I suppose) and his hardest-working press agent. Doom’s greatest source of publicity is his own voice, and that’s a deal; everyone listens to Doom and what greater thing could Doom speak of than Doom himself? Doctor Doom referring to himself in the third person is the perfect message for the perfect media.  In his head of course. Doctor Doom’s staggeringly massive ego is easily his most defining trait. The funny thing is that it even outpaces his prodigious intelligence, giving him a human flaw and a reason to, despite numerous advantages, fail, and despite numerous failures, carry on. Doom is unrelenting because what he does he does on principle (a warped, selfish principle) and failing to relent is a basic heroic attribute. Batman doesn’t give up. Superman doesn’t give up (mostly).  Spider-Man…sticks it out for a really long time (no pun or double entendre intended).

Monday, July 11, 2011

GoMnomnom: My Office

I just realized that 6/16 was the sixth-month anniversary of me trying to do this thing on a regular basis. I’d hoped that being this far in, I’d have developed a better and more consistent style. Instead I have 43 MB of MCChris pasted over Magic cards and…

Ah well, life continues, as it does.

As some of you know, I work on a barge in The Gulf of Mexico. My barge removes and (it is rumored, in whispered tones) installs the oil platforms that get gas and oil out of the Gulf, or as Grant Morrison might put it, "extract explosive Non-Solids from the sub aquatic graves of The Great Lizards beneath the oceans themselves!"

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Weekend Music: "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot

I know two things about this band:
1) I like them.
2) How to link their website.

Friday, July 08, 2011

It's the Magic: Commander

New Hotness
Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander, is a Magic: the Gathering format for three or more people. It features larger decks with only one of each card, as well as higher starting life totals. That means that games tend to last longer and be a little less consistent. That means instead of playing well-honed decks in burnout matches against a single opponents, player must establish their footing, understand what their opponents are doing, and do a significant amount of social wrangling to stay ahead.

EDH was a fan format until the guys who make Magic opted to make an official--and identical--version called Commander. They released specialty decks, some of them had original cards made specifically for the format. They were also about thirty bucks apiece.

The boxes look like this.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


Hey, I was just thinking about decision making and made a graph. Points represent decisions. The axes are the good and bad outcomes of those decisions.
As you can see, for the top left decision, you...aren't making a decision at all. For the rest, it's always a series of greater reward for greater consequences and there's always a handful of suboptimal options you never have to consider.

This model tends to ignore things like two decisions having different types of positive or negative results in favor of a simple, linear expression. It also fails to account for uncertainty, where each decision actually represents a range of unknown positive and negative effects.
Here, each decision is an unknown range of good and bad outcomes. Judging them by the best or worse cases yields very different options. For the sake of simplicity none of the decisions overlap, though they could.

I'd delve into probabilities here, but I was using MS Paint, and no matter how much better later versions have gotten, I can't get it to do a decent gradient without using the spray paint tool or just working with the pixels myself.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Feelings about Stuff (Yes, I know feelings are icky, but we're doing it anyway)

Don't know if I've posted this video before. Almost entirely unrelated blog below.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 28

Every Tuesday I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Okay, so the moral myopia and righteous vengeance are staples of the genre. Got it. The heroes who pursue violence against those who don’t deserve it, who are pacifists, and who try to solve all of the world’s problems are doomed to failure. Failure and suck. Eventually.

That said, let’s discuss some of these unapologetic punching bags for our heroes, the villains:

Monday, July 04, 2011

Field Manual Kris: Not Complaining, Just Informing

I first noticed it Wednesday, just a slight tightness in my throat as I was driving back home from New Orleans. The trip up to that point had taken me about three hours, enough time for someone to have completed a round trip from Houma to New Orleans and back to the city. My passenger side window was stuck down, I had to leave to go back offshore at one AM, and I was kicking myself for not finding a better way out of another emotional quagmire, so I didn’t think a thing of it.

Thursday was taken up mostly with travel. I took acetaminophen for a headache and spent the van ride to Texas in a sleep coma punctuated by buying fruit juices. My throat was very tight, but I thought I was just a bit dehydrated. On the boat ride out, I was unusually sea sick.  I don’t have a lot of man-points by default, and one of the places I work really hard on keeping them is the appearance of a strong constitution (a word which, no matter how much of it you have, will still leave you looking like a D&D geek if you actually use it in a sentence). I spent most of the ride on the outside deck for the fresh air, sitting on a storage locker with one arm draped awkwardly around a ladder so I wouldn’t slide off the boat when we hit large waves. I got sunburnt on the right side of my face and my right arm and soaked with spray, but I managed not to lose my lunch.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Weekend Music: "Cruel Sun" by Rusted Root

I know two things about this band:
1) I like them.
2) How to link their website.

Friday, July 01, 2011

No blog today, folks

I've got a virus that's destroying me like Ivan Drago and I puked up my medicine.

I've got a full shift ahead of me, and in a few hours, my virus will start up a righteous part with his friends dehydration and caffeine withdrawal.