So apparently July 11th is Amazon’s “Prime Day”.
First I ever heard of it. Apparently this is an annual thing.
Since the wifey and I are Prime members, I decided to peruse the selections they have, in hopes that, maybe, I could find something.
And surprise, surprise mine eyes did rest upon a few good deals (that weren’t already sold out).
Amazon Echo (The CIA)
A. K. A. the CIA’s little helper.
…on second thought don’t get this…
“What Doesn’t Kill Us” by Scott Carney
I’ve always loved the cold and realized early in life that the more I put up with a small amount of discomfort in the cold, the warmer I eventually became. Then I discovered Wim Hof through several channels and was immediately interested in the “Ice Man” who could be comfortable in ice water.
I’m told “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is a great book about Mr. Hof and his techniques and I look forward to this Prime deal.
Numerous Polyhedral Dice
For the gamer in your life…or you. Or your gaming group. Ever run low during a D&D campaign, keep losing your dice, or running a tabletop game requiring more than one dice type? This baggy looks great for all of your tabletop gaming needs.
Though, if you are a more hardcore gamer, these will probably just get mixed in with the 36″x12″x10″ tote you have already full of dice…
Dynasty Toys Laser Tag Set
Do I really need to explain why?
I’m not going to lie, that’s all I found at 8:32AM this morning (July 11th) not yet sold that caught my eye. There were a few video games and that, but Steam just recently ran some great deals and I got Dishonored and Dishonored II for $30 altogether.
But I’m one person in the millions shopping. What cool deals, especially for those of us geeks/nerds did you find?
Until next time. . .
And lo, the gaming gods didst smile upon the gamers, and there was much rejoicing!
Hello! And welcome back after a month or so hiatus. I return to blogging with a Kickstarter I have been anticipating for months, probably over a year: THORNWATCH.
Over the past few years, Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade have created the Eyrewood, a mystical place where magical guardians, called the Thornwatch, patrol the enchanted woods and protect the denizens therein from creatures changed and mutated by the dark mystical force, the Ebb.
Along with the Guardians of the Thornwatch are the Lookouts, Guardians in training, and the Daughters, girls that are pulled into the Eyrewood and imbued with power.
I’ve been hooked since the debut of the Eyrewood as an idea, and then a full fledged universe with backstory, history, some recurring characters, and amazing monsters. It is such a neat concept outside of what we normally look at as fantasy. I love the art, especially for monsters like The Choir. Penny Arcade has made numerous online comics, as well as digital comics on Comixology.
In the game, you choose one of five characters that come with their own 30 card deck. One person is the Judge (game master) and represents the Judging Wood. The Thornwatch players choose a mission, and then immediately get into the action on a comic-book style game board.
From the video on their Kickstarter, there is no leveling up as your are already a powerful master of your art as a Guardian of the Thornwatch.
I was fortunate enough to get a quick playtest game in at the Lone Shark Games booth at GenCon this year. My friends and I had a blast with just the quick, basic game the demo guy showed us. The card decks and how attacks and such were determined were fast paced and very easy to learn.
I backed at the $88 level. (If I backed at anything higher I think my wife would have a conniption.) I hope you, dear reader, will also back this Kickstarter, even if it’s at the $3 level…but I recommend getting the game. You and your friends will have hours of adventuring fun.
So head over to Kickstarter and check it out!
Until next time!…
(Note: All images herein are (C) Copyright Penny Arcade and Lone Shark Games. The images and references to their material is posted purely for this blog and is not intended for sale or any other profit making purpose.)
So Gen Con is just around the corner and like most people I am stoked. Weather.com shows that the weather will be mostly sunny with temps in the upper 70s/lower 80s the whole time the convention is going on. It’s going to be an awesome four days of gaming, First Exposure Playtest Hall, and Designer & Publisher Speed Dating.
What I’m Excited To See
There’s going to be a ton to see at Gen Con, and I’m sure more than there is to see in just 4 days. Note that this is my very first Gen Con. But consulting the Gen Con Exhibit Hall map and checking on other events that are available, I’ve already got a lot I want to see:
– Catalyst Game Labs: I will be haunting them. 🙂 No this is not creepy. (This is creepy.) But I cannot wait to meet their team and see all the cool stuff they have coming out. Shadowrun: Crossfire looks fun and I’d love to see/play a demo game. And of course Battletech. Duh. When in doubt, Battletech.
– Iron Wind Metals: Co-located with Catalyst Game Labs. They will probably be taking the second half of my monies.
– Corvus Belli: I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of Infinity Operation: Icestorm. But I’d love to see the other goodues they have.
– Privateer Press: ’nuff said. But rather than looking forward to just the stuff they have at the convention, I’m also heading over to The Ram for the tapping ceremony of the Everblight Ale!
– Table Forged: These guys are cool, and have a great game called Iron And Ale where you drink beer and beat the crap out of your friends. Oh there are cards to do fantasy stuff, too. 😛 But they threw down an arm wrestling challenge, and I answered it!
– Hawk Wargames: Dropzone Commander looks like an amazing game and I cannot wait to play it. I’ll be stopping by to see what they have, and maybe try my hand at a game or two.
– Mantic: Love the games these guys are putting out. Huge Deadzone fan, and already pledged for their Dwarf King’s Quest Kickstarter.
– Fantasy Flight Games: These guys are game making machines. Love their Star Wars game and may pick up a pack or two.
– Gale Force Nine: Everything I’ve heard about Firefly the Game is great! And being an ardent browncoat I wanna try my hand at it.
– Welovefine.com: Because I need a Catbug T-shirt.
– The D6 Generation: Recently started listening to their podcast and I am a huge fan already. Who knew there were people who talked about all the cool stuff I love? Gonna try to squeeze into their recording Friday with the other mob of people trying to get in. But would just like to meet ’em in general.
– The Cardboard Republic: Another great site and podcast that I instantly got addicted to, and would like to meet their team if I get a chance.
These are just a few of the companies I’m looking forward to seeing. The list is long and I have only a rough plan on how I will navigate…perhaps even astrogate this convention.
May have to break out those Delta-V calculations…
First Exposure Playtest Hall
If you haven’t already heard/read, my game Ship Strike will be debuted in the First Exposure Playtest Hall, located in ICC 107-110. If you’re there stop by and get a game in!
Schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 14: 10AM-12PM, 1PM-3PM, 5PM-7PM
Friday, Aug. 15: 3PM-5PM
I will be running two games at once, so four people can get in per time slot.
Work on Ship Strike has come along great. I’ve gotten some awesome feedback from playtests from friends, family, and the gaming group I belong to.
Probably one of the smartest thing I did was laminate the stat cards. It’s a lot of mind numbing work, but the endstate of what this is, and what it could become, drives me onward!
And So It Begins…
The final countdown to Gen Con has begun! I look forward to meeting a lot of fellow gamers and have a blast!
The two metal behemoths charged through the hatch as it hissed open. Both were mere men, but the two tons of robotic armor than encased them transformed them into the super soldiers of the Olympus Mons Technocracy. The metal claws of their left hands were open ready to strike in close combat. The right arms of the suits ended in the thick barrels of man-pack lasers and tracked back and forth, up and down. Around them the cargo bay, normally full of crates and equipment, was empty. No crew could be seen.
“Area clear,” the trooper on the left said.
“Moving,” another voice said over the comm.
Another trooper appeared through the hatch from the airlock. His armor was a carbon copy of that of his comrades except for the Chief’s rank adorning his helmet.
“Advance to the bridge,” Chief McIntyre said. “Wagner, left. Lin, right. Make sure to check high.”
“Aye chief,” came the response.
The magnetic clamps of their Titan power armor suits made their footfalls heavy and loud in the bay. The resounding thump of their steps rose the blood pressures of the Olympian troopers, but not enemy appeared.
Chief McIntyre had almost reached the hatch leading to the ship’s central spine. This was an old ship from when man began to conquer his solar system. The bridge would be at the “top” or “front” of the ship, depending on one’s perception.
Just before the three troopers reached the next hatch it opened on its own.
“Chief?” Wagner asked.
“Wasn’t me,” McIntyre replied.
Suddenly two people in old, ratty armored space suits swung into the open hatch, each wielding heavy machine guns.
“Contact!” McIntyre yelled.
* * *
After almost a year and a half I’m back. A lot has been going on with work and life. Not a lot of writing (though there’s some of that on the back burner).
My latest work:
SHIP STRIKE – The game of space-boarding combat in the 24th Century.
Above is a picture of a partial game board layout. From left to right: bridge, centrifuge/gravity deck, cargo deck.
In Ship Strike players battle one another to achieve their objective, whether that be annihilating the other player, taking the ship/space station/habitat, finding lost technology, or even setting the vessel’s self-destruct. Along with fighting one another and achieving their objective, players have to navigate ships without gravity.
At the moment there are five factions to choose from:
Olympus Mons Technocracy (located on Mars)
Elysium (located on Mars)
Lakshimi (located on Venus)
Star Folk (space nomads)
The reason minor states/pirates are a single faction is two-fold. First, many minor states may revert to piracy to meet their resource/monetary needs. On the other hand, pirates that build bases may find themselves the leaders of small or proto-states due to the number of troops, support personnel, hangers-on, and slaves in their camp.
It’s just 79 days until GenCon 2014! This will be my first EVAR GenCon, and my first evar wargaming convention (though I have been to Dragon*Con and other comic conventions). I’m super excited. The younger brother, my fiance and her daughter are going with, though the fiance and her daughter will not be participating in GenCon itself. They’re there for moral support/shopping. 🙂
Why do I mention GenCon 2014?
Ship Strike will be previewed at GenCon. Either officially, in the First Exposure Playtest hall (if my application goes through), or off to the side (if my application does not go through). I will have at least two playable copies of Ship Strike at GenCon. Three or four ideally. If you’d like to help playtest, please comment below or shoot me an e-mail.
In addition to playtesting, I will also be taking part in the Publisher and Designer Speed Dating put on by Minion Games! In a speed dating-style event, designers (like me) will pitch our prototype games to major publishers with hopes of getting our games published! I’m REALLY excited for this and will be putting a lot of work and effort into getting ready for this.
I will be posting a lot more development and playtest updates as I go with plenty of pictures, so keep an eye out for that!
As many of you may know I love miniature war-games. Not that I play many of them these days – work, my Master’s program, and running around and creating havoc in Omaha and the Continental United States take up most of my time. I wanted to go to a local shop, Orcs 4 Hire, and play a rousing game of Warhammer 40k…may not happen.
But I digress.
In my love for tabletop wargames I have the desire to create my own. This is no easy feat. Rules must be created, play tested, rewritten, play tested again, re-rewritten. Miniatures must be sculpted and then mass produced, they have to be packaged, and then a distribution system, paired with a marketing strategy, must be created.
But most of that is down the line. Right now working on the game is that “miniatures sculpted” section. Hiring a sculptor is expensive. Currently the quote is $400 PER MINI. $8000 is where we’re sitting if we pay a guy. And for a small start-up that can be debilitating.
There’s another option that has become more and more viable over the past few years: 3D printing.
3D printing has really taken off in the last decade. Instead of companies using giant machinery one can now purchase a desktop 3D printer for $3000 or less, and the plastic material is $50 or so a spool.
I give you MakerBot. MakerBot manufactures some excellent, affordable 3D printers for companies, or for the average user. The MakerBot Replicator is a rather affordable $1,749. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-404.html
It’s upgraded sibling, the MakerBot Replicator 2, is a bit pricier at $2,199. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html
Whichever model, they are a much cheaper alternative to paying a sculptor.
But there ARE drawbacks. Instead of having a sculptor do all the work, one (namely me) would have to learn to use CAD or the MakerBot program, MakerWare. This is time consuming, and not prefferable if working to meet a certain deadline, whether that be a shopping holiday season or pre-convention.
Still a bit expensive though? There are some great Kickstarter Campaigns pushing small, very affordable desktop 3D Printers. Like this one here:
For a backing of $1,395 you can get a very nice, all metal 3D printer.
Creating your own miniatures, toys, or parts is more affordable than ever, and the entrepreneur-on-the-cheap that needs one for their operations can find a list of affordable 3D printers on the internet. It’s something I’m looking into, for sure.
Until next time . . .
I promise I WILL have a Dragon*Con post up tonight. I don’t have access to my pictures at work (and I was totally slacking this weekend).
With PRIMO VICTORIA out, I have been jonesing to finish up the next book in what I’m (tentatively) calling the post-Earth series. This will consist of the following major novels: Der Sternvolker (soon to be retitled as The Star Folk), The Technocrat, The Elysian, and The Martin.
THE TECHNOCRAT has been in the works for some time now. Ultimately I write a few pages, even a few chapters, but hate the way it looks, sounds, and feels. It doesn’t convey the characters, story, or message I am filling the story with.
Recently I read Know No Fear by Dan Abnett, a Warhammer 40k Horus Heresy novel (and wrote a review on it HERE). My eyes were opened to a different way to write. Know No Fear is written present tense, as if everything is happening as the reader reads the book. Know No Fear was so well written, and conveyed the feelings and ideas of over half a dozen different characters so well that I thought I’d try writing it this way (given, part of that is Dan Abnett’s amazing writing ability).
So, to tantalize you (and distract you from the fact I haven’t posted anything on Dragon*Con), I give you a brief excerpt from the rough-rough draft of THE TECHNOCRAT.
The Democratic Republic of Haven Butte
31 January 2306
It’s “day time” in Haven Butte. Though Saturn’s moon, Titan, is on the dark side of its parent planet, every clock in the city reads daylight hours. Lights all around Haven Butte swat the darkness away in an attempt to regulate the population’s sleeping patterns and create the illusion of an Earth-like day.
Haven Butte is home to roughly twenty-thousand people. It’s large for a city-state on Titan—the fifth largest on Titan to be exact. For over a century the La Rochenoire family had ruled the twenty thousand citizens of Haven Butte. Though they were little more than thugs, the La Rochenoire family did help the former Central European Pact colony expand. Titan’s thick, ancient ice was cut back, and there was a reinvigorated movement to continue terraforming. New structures were built where there was solid ground. Massive plates were built to extend the city over Titan’s oceans where the ice was slowly receding.
Though the La Rochenoire family were bullies at the best of times, the people of Haven Butte tended to look the other way in favor of the slow advancement they were making. The standard of living had risen. The city wasn’t as cramped. With increased area to live came increased area to create businesses and, as long as no one messed with their power, the La Rochenoire family allowed those businesses to flourish. Everything seemed as if it was getting better.
Then the revolution happened. For a decade a growing resistance had smuggled weapons and equipment into Haven Butte. In December of 2305 they launched their coup, killing King Harold La Rochenoire and his family and many of the bureaucrats and soldiery loyal to him.
Now the Revolutionary Council rules the Democratic Republic of Haven Butte—every last one of them hardline communists. Curfews are in place. Private companies and interests are now nationalized.
This nationalization includes two mines owned by House d’Helion of the Olympus Mons Technocracy.
Judd Wooller, president of the d’Helion mining operations on Titan, sits in a jail cell with his small staff. There are eight of them in the cell. The rest of the labor force had been Haven Butte locals. Many of the locals had left to fight for the revolutionaries, only to return to imprison their former bosses and take over the mining operations. Now Judd tries to keep his people alive. He shivers and pulls a thread-bare blanket tighter around himself as if he can squeeze another ounce of warmth out of it. He tried to send a message to Olympus Mons before the rebel soldiers came for him. He still has no clue if it reached its destination.
One of Judd’s staff, a woman by the name of Ayana, stirs in her sleep. Her ebony skin is cut and bruised, and she whimpers as she slumbers. The revolutionaries are especially rough with her. There aren’t many people of color in Haven Butte, and none as dark as Ayana. Ayana is a novelty to male and female urges alike.
These bastards will pay, Judd promises himself.
Judd is a former soldier. He served eight years in the d’Helion House Guards. While Judd’s staff sleeps he is awake and on the lookout for the possibility of escape.
Suddenly there’s a screech of hinges as the door to the small jail opens. Two revolutionary soldiers trudge inside, each encumbered by ragged, mismatched extreme cold weather gear. They speak to one another in a strange dialect, a mixture of Western and Central European languages from dead Earth. One of the soldiers closes the door, and they both remove their hoods. It’s a man and a woman, both at least half Judd’s age. Children playing at war.
The two soldiers stride up to the jail cell and peer in. Judd stares back, a look of defiance on his face.
“Olympians,” the woman says, pointing at Judd. “Stupid.”
The man and woman laugh. The man steps forward and punches a code into the cell door. The woman hefts her assault rifle to cover her comrade. As the door opens Judd’s personnel awake, bleary eyed and confused. Some of them hope that the past few months were just one long nightmare. As their vision clears they realize this is very real.
The man points at Ayana. “You. Come.”
Ayana cringes back and shakes her head.
The woman soldier barks something in her harsh tongue. The man sneers and lunges at Ayana. Ayana screams and tries to scrabble further back into the cell.
There is a noise outside. The female soldier lowers her rifle just a hair and looks towards the door.
It’s the opening Judd has been waiting for.
Judd pounces on the male soldier and tackles him to the ground. Realizing what’s happening, the other members of Judd’s staff join in bludgeoning the soldier with their fists and feet.
The woman is screaming now. Two of Judd’s staff members dart through the cell door and lunge at the female soldier. She gets one shot off, winging the first man through the door: Karl, Judd’s chief financial officer. Karl drops with a yelp of pain. The second man, Bradley, Judd’s purchasing agent, slams into the female soldier and knocks her to the ground. Bradley pins her with his greater mass and stronger muscles, and wrests the rifle from her hands.
“You not escape,” the woman says. “More coming.”
It’s silent in the jail except for Karl’s moans of pain.
Now Judd can hear the sound the female soldier heard. A low moan cuts through the air. It starts silent and distant, then grows in volume.
Warning sirens. They are blaring all over Haven Butte. There are exclamations of surprise and fear, and yells of urgency. The heavy tromp of dozens of boots pass the jail.
“What is it?” Ayana asks.
Judd picks himself up off the male soldier and walks out of the cell and out the door of the prison. The arctic cold of Titan cuts past the layers of clothes he wears, through his skin, and down to his bones. His breath catches in his throat from the frozen air. All around Judd the city is in a state of panic. People dart down the street in an attempt to flee. Fear fills their eyes. Soldiers rush the other way, oblivious to Judd or the jail.
Some of the people in the street look up in horror and point at the sky. They babble in their bastardized language. Judd can’t understand. He turns and looks up.
“Dear God,” Judd says.
The sky is falling.
The first troops on the ground were thirty pathfinders in Ranger-pattern power armor. They had set beacons for the rest of the force, and scouted the edges of Haven Butte. Now, four hours later, the assault force arrives.
Hundreds of drop pods erupt inside Titan’s thin atmosphere to expel their deadly cargo. Infantry clad in two ton Titan-pattern power armor cut their chutes several meters above Titan’s icy surface and hit the ground running. The mechanical joints and artificial musculature of the power armor propels the troopers forward at over twenty-five kilometers per hour.
Defending infantry begin to open up at the oncoming armored soldiers. Bullets whiz through the air. Some strike home into metal alloy chests and limbs with no effect.
The attackers respond with man-pack lasers. The angry, ruby beams screech from the barrel arm guns of the Titan suits and punch into the defenders’ lines. A laser strikes a man and his upper torso ceases to exist. Another laser cuts into a light vehicle, touching off an ammunition magazine. The vehicle explodes, sending fire and shrapnel in all directions. Soldiers surrounding the vehicle are thrown like rag dolls. The Titan troopers fire volleys of missiles from the back-mounted missile racks. The warheads slam into checkpoints and barricades.
Titan and Ranger power armor troopers smash into the defenders. The revolutionaries of Haven Butte put up a brave fight. They die miserable deaths. Haven Butte soldiers are gutted, torn limb from limb, and are crushed. This isn’t a battle. This is slaughter. None of the defenders are left alive.
Finally the Haven Butte forces deploy a few medium tanks. These are relics of a bygone era, barely kept in running condition for over two centuries. Their armor is more welded on scrap metal and paint than anything else. But these tanks have working guns. One tank rakes the attackers with heavy machine gun fire as it rolls down the street and checks their advance. Another tank fires a round from its large bore cannon. It doesn’t hit—a testament to how often the crews have had actual practice—but it forces the attackers to pause for a brief moment.
Suddenly there’s a screech and a roar as if the world is about to end. Planet shattering explosions follow. New craters form just outside of the city as ice and rock is hurled into the air.
There are three of them. Each one is larger than most buildings in Haven Butte. Each one looks like a creature from hell.
They trudge forward through the haze.
They are Colossi, the epitome of land warfare technology in the solar system. Two are twins—Krakens, each weighing ninety tons and armed with a rail gun and a laser in each arm, dozens of missiles in either side of their barrel torsos, and an anti-missile system on top.
The two Krakens unleash a barrage of nickel ferrous rounds and lasers at the defenders and the surrounding buildings. Skin, meat, and bone disintegrate. Buildings explode and then collapse. One of Haven Butte’s precious tanks erupts in a cascading ball of flame. Another tank has a hole punched in it from a rail gun round and crawls to a halt, smoke billowing from its innards. The crew doesn’t get out.
Leading the Colossus advance is an Oracle. It’s lighter than the Krakens at seventy-five tons. Each arm ends in a heavy and medium laser, and an anti-missile system guards its top. The Oracle is more armor and communications equipment than weaponry. It’s a command unit. All of the attacking troopers wear the crest of Olympus Mons and their noble house, but the Oracle sports long, ceremonial banners of crimson from either side of its bullet-like torso. The House crest flutters in the wind; twin dragons flanking a cog.
Technocrat Lord Rickard d’Helion wades into the fray. He fires his lasers as fast as they can cycle. The Oracle is running hot due to the high rate of fire, but Rickard doesn’t care. Tank armor melts under the onslaught, and the crew inside is fried. An anti-armor team ceases to exist. Squads of infantry in extreme cold weather gear are reduced to burnt meat. Those that survive Rickard’s attacks only live a few more painful moments.
Reports begin to flood over the radio in Rickard’s helmet.
“Zeus, this is Alpha Six, we’ve secured entrance into the city. Squads are advancing on the left flank.” Rickard’s Alpha Company commander, Captain Renner.
“Zeus, this is Beta Six, engaging enemy infantry on the right flank.” Beta Company commander, Captain Watkins.
“Delta Six to Zeus, blocking position set up on the North side of the city. We have captured roughly twenty enemy fleeing the city. Your orders?”
Rickard doesn’t hesitate. “Zeus to Delta Six: no prisoners.”
“Zeus, Delta Six acknowledges.”
There’s the sound of laser discharge and men screaming before Rickard’ s Delta Company commander, Captain Grimes, cuts the transmission.
Dragon Con is quickly approaching! This Thursday I will be flying from the small city of Omaha to the wild, bumpin’ metropolis of Atalanta, GA for comic books, video games, animes, and regular nerdish fun.
More info on Dragon Con can be found here: http://dragoncon.org/
It should be a blast. I’m already signed up for a ton of the parties, and I’m told by my friend that I am required to party until 7AM or I drop, whichever comes first. Though in all honesty she’ll be the one struggling to keep up. This ginger always brings his A-Game.
Will I be cosplaying? No. I don’t have room in my bag, and I’ve never really been into the whole dressup thing. Besides, there aren’t a whole lot of notable ginger characters in popular culture. Popular cultures fears we soulless beings.
Will I nerd out? Oh hell yes. I’m taking three pairs of pants and twice as many pairs of underwear just in case.
Will I be there as an author? Technically, no. But I guess I never really drop the label of self-published author. I will not have a booth or set-up. It’ll just be me enjoying my Dragon Con experience. But feel free to say hello. 🙂 And if you’re a fellow self-published author I’d love to talk shop.
Will I be there to plug the miniatures game? No again. The fantasy miniatures game is still in the works. We’re trying to hash out the rules and miniatures, and are still working on getting the loan. Running a business is expensive! But I will have more on that in the coming weeks and months.
Will I party hard? Oh hell yes. If you wanna hang, you had better be ready to stay up till 7AM, and then wake back up at 1PM to do it all again. No excuses, play like a champ! A-Game people! Like Andrew W. K. says, “When it’s time to party, we will always party hard!”
And, of course, I will post updates from the con as I get the chance. Probably as I drag myself out of bed at 1 or 2PM in the afternoon and am dragging at whatever caffeinated drink I can find.
Should be a blast. 🙂
Until next time . . .