Friday, August 31, 2012

Neil Armstrong, RIP

43 years ago, humans first set foot on the Moon. Even though we haven't been back in 40 years, the dream of walking on another world still lives on -- most recently with Curiosity, the latest Mars rover.

Today is the official day of mourning for Neil Armstrong, with flags flown at half-staff until sunset, and also the day of the private memorial service. This article has a great image gallery of his career, and details on tributes. As the article suggests,
...the family has made one other suggestion for honoring Armstrong. Remember? "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Friday's moon is a good one to wink at: It's the second full moon in a calendar month, which is known as a "blue moon." The moon won't actually be blue, but if the skies are clear, it should be big and bright and shining all night.
If it's cloudy where you are on the planet, you can click over to the online viewing party where remote-controlled telescopes worldwide will be focused on Tranquility Base and beyond.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gen Con 2012 report, part 1

Thursday: Mrs. Kaiju and I arrive downtown around 6pm and get checked in at the hotel right away. This was important, as our usual procedure is to arrive Friday morning. Last year, a fraternity reunion helped to sell out the hotel, and we had a long wait before a room was ready. When you are tired and sick from travelling, hanging out in the lobby for hours is no fun.

We decided to brave the light rain and walk over to Scotty's Brewhouse for dinner. We were met by a contingent of Stormtroopers and Jedi at the door and immediately seated. A later dinner time and farther away from the ICC helps with quick seating. While the overhead TVs played the DVD of Wrath of the Titans, we had a really nice dinner in a fairly quiet corner. Two managers stopped by to talk with us and I was able to get the special con d6 for Thursday.

Following dinner, I went to the convention center to pick up my badge and tickets, along with a con program that I could study that evening. I walked right up to the Will Call booth easily. All of the programs put out for the day were gone. We ran into some of our local gaming friends who were also staying at the hotel.

Friday: Got ready and went downstairs to the hotel restaurant for their breakfast buffet. Met up with our friend G. there, and then went out to the show.

After getting Mrs. Kaiju's badge and program books, we hit the Exhibit Hall. First stop: the Crystal Caste booth, each with coupon books in hand, for our Gen Con d6.You might sense a theme here -- I like collecting dice. I was sad that many of the swag bags from Gen Con 2010 were missing the commemorative dice.

Next, picking up my pre-ordered copy of Night's Black Agents from the Pelgrane Press booth. To make up for the shipping charge, we could add it to their "4 for 3" con special.

I added the NBA adventure book The Zalozhniy Quartet, Bookhounds of London, and The Book of the Smoke. Mrs. Kaiju spent more time talking to Paula Dempsey than I did. We continued on our wandering of the hall. I never did get back to the Pelgrane booth during the show to check out the tables along the other side, where The New Hero and the other Stone Skin Press fiction titles were located. This will be a theme of the convention this year.

Update: As shown in the photo, I also found one lone copy of Open Game Table, Vol. 2 at the Studio 2/Pinnacle booth.

Continued in Part Two...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three RPG-related items to watch

I have not even opened and emptied my gaming bag since returning from Gen Con -- except to pull out the giant tennis-ball-sized d20 that Mrs. Kaiju purchased to use for her Composition I class next week. She's going old-school with a random writing prompt table. Therefore, my after-the-con notes will need to wait until Monday. Instead, I wanted to mention three other RPG events to watch.

Trey is looking for adventure seeds for Weird Adventures at From the Sorcerer's Skull. Check out all of the details at the contest page.

Reaper's Kickstarter project for expanding their unpainted plastic minis line will be closing 56 hours from the time of this post. I'm sure I will be kicking myself later for not getting in on the Vampire pledge level. If only this ended a month after Gen Con, and not the week after. Maybe the $15 Dungeon Attack set...

Secret Santicore is gearing up soon. Jez is looking for elves to help Santicore with the art and layout on the book. If you have such skills, let him know.

Bonus item:  The Lost Pages of Tsojcanth also has a open call for submissions on life in the Middle Ages for an RPG project titled Burgs & Bailiffs. The deadline for proposals was yesterday, however, I think I'll still send something tonight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gen Con report soon

Post-Gen Con report soon, probably Wednesday or Thursday. Lots of homework to grade first...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This year at Gen Con

I have been neglectful at keeping up with new game releases and events happening at Gen Con this year. I only have a handful of events and products that are on my radar for this year.

In the past few years, we've been catching up with some of my friend D.'s childhood friends at the con. This has included some memorable Saturday night gaming sessions:
  • Playing Munchkin inside Champions Sports Bar. This was made more memorable by the cheers of the crowd that night watching Michael Phelps win gold in the Beijing Olympic Games.
  • Playing Descent in the bar at McCormick & Schmick's
  • Playing D&D Miniatures at the hotel, with Mrs. Kaiju bringing in more role-playing to the minis game, asking J. for more details about the world and what brings the party into this particular dungeon
Last year before everyone left town, the group discussed playing the module B2: Keep on the Borderlands this year. I'm assuming that this will happen, as D. recently picked up the Moldvay Basic and Expert books, B2 and X2: The Isle of Dread from the used section of our FLGS.

If schedules permit, I hope to meet some of the gamers I've chatted with online through blogs and G+. A panel discussion about the RPG Blog Alliance is scheduled on Friday. There may be other informal meetups.

The podcast This Just In from Gen Con will be recording two shows daily throughout the convention.

I have two main goals for shopping in the Hall this year. First, receiving my pre-order print copy of Ken Hite's "Jason Bourne vs. the vampire conspiracy" RPG Night's Black Agents. Although one loses out on the shipping charge, it does count for their con special 4-for-3 sale. Second, a copy of Barbarians of Lemuria from Cubicle 7. It has received great reviews, and it's one of a group of rules that I'm looking at for running pulp-inspired sword-and-sorcery.

I have a small list of some other items that I will look for while there, particularly some OSR products such as Carcosa, Stonehell, The Dungeon Alphabet, and the like. I just found out about a 10mm sci-fi miniatures game titled Dropzone Commander. Some friends have been playing it already and the minis look neat. That reminds me that I've been wanting to check out Uncharted Seas, a fantasy naval combat minis game, as well.

Games on Demand/Indie Games Explosion gets a larger dedicated space this year, and I hope to find a couple of hours to try some of the indie/story games that we don't normally get a chance to play. I'm very curious about Fiasco, Dungeon World, and Swords Without Master in particular.

EDIT: I forgot to mention two board games: Star Trek Catan and Relic, the 40K version of Talisman.

If you are going to Gen Con, have a safe and fun trip! If not, check out the online activities for CONcurrent, also running at the same time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A quick update and Games Day link

Work has kept me super-busy yet again this week, so I've not had the chance to think about or write up some notes on the WaRP system as I had hoped.

Next week is Gen Con, and I will have some thoughts about that posted here on Monday. I haven't keep up with the new releases for the show. One RPG item that I intend to get is Barbarians of Lemuria, and that might inform some of my ideas concerning WaRP. I really need to pick up one of the flavors of FATE eventually, either Spirit of the Century or Strands of FATE.

In the meantime... if you live in the Northern Indiana/Southwest Lower Michigan area, the official announcement and call for GMs has gone out for South Bend Games Day in October. More information on the SBGD blog.

And did I mention that it's Kaijuville's 7th anniversary this month?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

WaRP OGL rules, reformatted

Mrs. Kaiju and I were going out of town for part of last weekend, which I thought would give me an opportunity to read through Atlas Games' released-as-OGL WaRP System in one sitting. Until now I had only given it a glance. Friday evening I printed the PDF and put it inside a binder folder for easy reading.

Later that same evening... I saw Rob Donoghue's blog posting about reformatting the SRD for his own use and making the PDF available for all. Still later, I saw a post from Jonathan Tweet about another reformatting by Avram Grumer, this time in landscape format (looks good on a laptop screen). If I had only waited an hour...

I have yet to read either of these two versions, although they do look sharp. I had planned to do my own layout of the SRD with tweaks --which I may still work on -- and these will be handy for checking various options.

Next week I'll post more about the system in detail.