Important Stuff

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lack of Direction Kills...Well it Kills Blogs at least.....

I started a blog for no reason other than I thought it would be a good idea, I also thought that I would always have something to talk about...All I needed to do was find my 'Niche' and all the Internet could bask in the warm glow of my brilliance.....


Monday, January 9, 2012

New Member Monday - Interrobang

Hello all!  It's another week at the coolest blog network ever (that's the House of Paincakes, btw) and we've got a nice new batch of blogs to share.

But first, did you notice the new HoP blog roll search?  It's over there on the right.  Plus, you can read about it here.  Which you should do.  Which you HAVE to do.  Obviously, if you already saw the announcement on Friday then you're excused from reading it again- but it would be a nice gesture.

We'll be promoting the heck out of the search tool so don't worry - if you're not sick of hearing about it now, you will be later.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Building

I know I said that this week I would be talking about mechanics and game design- and the intelligent design series will return next week, I promise. However, since we didn't move to a larger location, we decided to improve the one we had. Yesterday I spent the day making physical improvements to my store. This was an exceptionally long project and any chance at writing I thought I would have went right out the window once we got started. 

Stolen directly from TheDude's blog, here are pictures of what we did yesterday. 


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Von Show #6 - Balance Of Power

A'right.  This week I'm trying for something a wee bit different as we're talking more about things from the player's perspective, and that's not something I know too much about, so I've recruited Hark and we've done a bit of a double-header.  In fact we've done a lot of a double-header - there's about five times as much material as I usually record (this is what not having a script will do for you), four after all the awkward waiting-to-see-what-we-think-of-next pauses have been edited out, and nobody wants to sit through approximately thirty-eight minutes of two British people talking semi-seriously about nerd games all at once.

So it's a three-parter.  The fourth is a bit off-message and I'll be saving that for when I inevitably get brain mange or something and need a filler episode.  Anyway, here's Part The First, with 100% more Hark, 100% more multi-partness, and 100% more actual transcript rather than cheat-and-copypaste-the-script.  There's even some swearing.


House of Paincakes Blogroll Search

Normally on a Friday, there'd be a Top X to read.  But not today.

Normally, someone from our crack staff of ace journalists would sift through the blog rolls and select 5-12 posts to promote.  It's actually some pretty solid  fun with a hefty dose of self edification.  But there are a couple of flaws - it's time consuming, it's not all that guided and it leaves people out.

That last bit is the important part. 

As the House of Paincakes has grown and matured evolved, we've always stuck by our goal to promote our members.  The Top X. the intermittent User Content Days and all the authors we add are here to draw attention to the blogs we support.  Back in the beginning it was pretty easy to make that happen.  The blogrolls were shorter (and there were only two of them) and the only challenge we had in promotion was making sure we didn't constantly double up on our small (and elite) constituents.  


Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Twelfth Day of Fishmas

Paul Destroys the Universe
All right guys and gals, it's the final day. Everything has been building to this. We've even added ANOTHER commentator to the mix since today is very special to him. What we have here is a multimedia explosion. I only mention it because it's literally the first time I've gotten to use that phrase for serious.

Uglyraincoat: Next Year’s Only Hit Single.

dethtron:  So the story goes something like this:  back many moons ago (like 2003, I think) Uglyrainoat hosted a LAN party at his house.  This back at the dawn of time when LAN parties were de rigueur and all the rage.  Anyhow, the kids all wanted to play some FPS that my computer couldn’t run.  Seems I couldn’t hang with the big dogs if the big dogs wanted to play anything more complicated than say “Worms World Party.”  If memory serves, my graphics card was at fault and there wasn’t a way to remedy the situation- the 24 hour graphics card store had yet to be invented.

Doing what any person in this situation would do, I told everyone to go ahead without me and proceeded to figure out how the tunable speech synthesizer worked on my sequencer software.  An hour and a half later “Paul Destroys the Universe” was born and the rest is history.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Eleventh Day of Fishmas

dethtron:  Lauby, I don’t think I can adequately dedicate myself to discussing this card.  Every time I look at your art I lose my shit.
Lauby:  Haha!  This was the pinnacle of my skill with going dumpster diving in Google images.  You know...  now that I think about it, I’m just now noticing the kind of War in Heaven theme we have going on in this set- Jesus, the halo on Billy Ruben, the use of “the last supper” all the ‘damned’ stuff, references to demons and, now,  Satan.  Was all that on purpose?  
dethtron:  I want to say yes.
Uglyraincoat: Idea for next set: Unholy Satanic Furry.
dethtron:  creepiest card idea you’ve ever thrown out.


SinSynn's Sinny Awards!

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

During my interminable stay on this miserable globe, I've notice many strange, recurring behavior patterns you Humans exhibit.
For example, every year around this time, you like to look back, and reflect upon what has occurred during your previous Terran calender year.
Also, you like to hand out meaningless awards.

*I purchased these on E-Bay*

While I find these ritualistic fiascoes a tad curious (why do you clap for 'best sound production in a foreign short film'? Because that part of the show is over?), in all honesty I find most of what Humans do to be inexplicable.
If everything goes according to plan,'s all moot, anyway.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Tenth Day of Fishmas

Lauby:  This actually would have been a nice land if we tweaked it a bit.  Either add a second mana option or ditch the sacrificial aspect of it I’m thinking  Yes, it’s a totally boring reference to the challenges of fishing in man-made lakes, but in an alternative universe, a card series like this is the kind of thing that could skew an entire metagame.  I declare the alternative universe us’s to be geniuses.
Uglyraincoat: It is for those reasons that this card is more than just a green fishmas knockoff of Alliance’s Kjeldoran Outpost.  
dethtron:  perhaps giving all fish protection from everything could have been a more interesting mechanic for this one.


'Cheating' not as obvious as you might think.....

A few of my friends are practising for a tournament in the near future and as usual my home became the 'training ground' for the test of these new armies. While we were 'helping' each other with the tweaking of these lists, the inevitable discussion about playing against cheating bastards occurred.....

However while relating these amusing tales to one another it became evident that what each person defines as 'cheating' can be radically different.


Monday, January 2, 2012

The Ninth Day of Fishmas

Lauby:  Speaking of drunk driving...    
Uglyraincoat: It is funny because it is offensive to a certain group of people’s lifestyle.  [Face palm.]  
Lauby:  What are you talking about? This is a perfectly fine salute to our country’s proud yokel heritage.  It’s pretty much the most powerful card we made and my favorite card to play as a result.  It IS America to me.
dethtron:  AMURICA!!!!!
Uglyraincoat: True, and that guy from across the way who gave us all of his “old beer” is a case in point.  He had just driven in from the Anheuser Busch factory, and insisted that anything with a born-on date older than two days tasted inferior.  (His beers were born that very morning.)  He had somehow achieved being a snooty beer-snob about Budlight.  Plus, he ran his mobile home into a tree, knocking down a branch.  He then drafted our help in a bit of impromptu tree-trimming in the middle of the campground - with chain-saw.  I guess it isn’t worth a face-palm if the joke doesn’t make any of the people it references feel bad.  We were cool with Mike, and Mike was cool with us.  Now, Mike’s wife, on the other hand, was not ok with us because her retired husband had suddenly reverted to beer-swilling, 20-something behavior and wanted to play in our bean bag tournament.  
dethtron:  AMURICA!!!!!


New Member Monday: Choosing a Champagne

Happy New Year everyone!  I trust you've all recovered from your massive hangovers.  If not, then what the hell happaned!?  It's a new calendar year at the HoP and our first crop of new members is a great way to start things up (especially nice when paired with the amazing post by Lo on Monday).

But first, I need to do a little bit of a public service.  Now, It's a couple days late, but the information is still invaluable.

Anway, it may come that next year you are invited to a New Years Eve party and have been asked to bring a bottle of champagne.  Or even some other, lesser fancy party later in the year.  It will be very important that you don't fuck this up.

How to Pick a Bottle of Champagne
his is not a complicated guide and will be skipping over much of the minutia of wine drinking and will probably curdle the blood of an aficionado. But them's the breaks.

Now, wine is a tricky beast - with all the hard to pronounce varieties, the food pairing rules, the question of vintage, the wild differences in quality between regions & vintners and so on and so forth.

It's all very important stuff... if you're a hard core wine drinker.  You're probably not. And if you are, then good on you - you're the fanciest drunk there is and I'm jealous.  But we don't need to hear about it. All you need to know is to follow these three rules:

1) Go to a good liquor store.  Or even a wine shop if you've got one handy.  Just make sure it's a little upscale.  Once you're there, go to the champagne section (this will be clearly marked in a good store). DO NOT go to a grocery store.

2) Buy actual champagne.  ALL champagne comes from a single region in France.  Otherwise, as Rob Lowe tells us, it's just a sparking white wine.  If the bottle you are considering lists another white wine type (Pinot Grigio, for example) and/or was made outside of France, it IS NOT champagne no matter what the label says.

3) Spend more than $10.  Hell, you should probable spend more than $20 if we're honest.  But so long as it's French, the $10 rule is good enough.  If you're prepared to spend even more, a good indication that the Champagne will be good is if the bottle comes in a fancy box (but is NOT boxed wine).

There you go.  Now you can avoid embarrassment and impress your friends next year.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eighth Day of Fishmas

Lauby:  Here’s a nod to the bane of camper’s everywhere.  The raccoons that hung around out campsite were particularly well fed since even if you’re a classy drunk, you’re still a drunk.  I guess what I’m saying is that properly storing your food is not likely to happen.  And then all your paella and port are gone.
Uglyraincoat:  However, they are extra cuddly in case you forget your pillow.  
dethtron:  judging by the sacrifice ability on this card, those are some bloodthirsty raccoons.


[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Intelligent Design: Art (Part 2)

Welcome everyone and Happy New Year!

I hope your hangovers aren't too bad, because I'm doing some serious discussions about art and its place in game design.

Last time around, I mentioned that there are various stages in the creation of art. I really only touched on what I meant; giving the merest of hints at what's in store for you today. I gave an overview of the factors of art in game design, specifically mentioning cover, interior and pieces. But how much of what you see in a game is ART, and how much is DESIGN?

Stephen Glasgow, owner of Mox Creative, elaborates this way:

When I’m “on the clock”, and talking to a potential new client, I am pitching my design work.  As I explain my process and methodology I emphasize that there is a huge difference between “art” and “graphic design”.  Technical skill wise, both have the same core -  strong use of creative eye, hand skills, use of balance, contrast, etc.

One crucial detail however, separates the two into completely different entities. As a graphic designer, I am visually communicating someone else’s message.  As an artist, I’m visually conveying my personal emotion.  


Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Seventh Day of Fishmas

dethtron:  even if this has nothing to do with Fishmas, this card with its super convoluted rules will always have a special place in my heart.
Lauby:  Mine too.  It’s not just the fact that we created a card just to justify our use of the banding mechanic, but the fact that we forgot to write ‘legendary’ on the card type.  An amazing fact that we didn’t realize it until there were two Jesuses on the table and we tried to call someone out on it.  
dethtron:  idea for Fishmas the Gathering II- Doppel Jesus!
Uglyraincoat: Jesus Flash Dancing Christ
Lauby:  Jesus II: Jesusment Day, the Final Jesussing
dethtron:  Jesus Tap Dancing Christ II: the Softshoeing


Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sixth Day of Fishmas

dethtron:  finally, a card truly worthy of a trip to the hospital.
Lauby:  I’m going to go on record as saying that this is our best designed card.  It’s super aggressive but with just enough of a draw back to really make using it a risk.  A risk that Bernie was ALWAYS willing to take despite the fact that it was constantly being burned off the table as soon as it hit.  Which is a good way to run up an eight drink deficit over the course of a couple of hours with no tangible benefit.
Uglyraincoat: Sometimes learning is difficult... like when you’re drunk from playing George Thorogood on each of your first two turns.  It was a bit like watching a cow learn about electric fences.  
dethtron:  awesomeness of this card not withstanding, I just want to declare my undying hatred for the actual George Thorogood publicly.
Lauby: I’m going to have to reevaluate our friendship.


The Weekly Top X- As the Xenos Turns

Lauby leaves the HOP control room to take care of some personal business... and the cameras
shift to what appears to be a set of a dungeon, almost like a television show....but not quite. 
Hearing the door to his cell open, the tiny Xeno hung his head. 
They were coming to beat him again, surely.
He had stopped resisting after the first few times...what was the point?  
His hubris had bought him here...his pride...
More than anything else, it was his opinions that led him to this shameful end.

He had entered the battles pure of purpose, his goal a singular point of light he tread steadily towards.
...To stand before the Queen of the Universe, triumphant.

Where did it go wrong?


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fifth Day of Fishmas

Lauby:  see... this is the thing that really irritated me about the whole Bill-bo Shaggins incident.  Bill already had a damn card!  It just didn’t have his name on it.
Uglyraincoat: Yeah, but it doesn’t capture the essence of Bill, even if he looks cool.  Which brings us to our next card, the source of the conflict:


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Fourth Day of Fishmas

dethtron:  Ok, I know I don’t like being photographed (due to my Amish heritage), but was there not a picture where my jeans and sweater don’t look like the same color?
Lauby:  Oh no!  Your secret identity!  Now everyone will know what you looked like 6 years ago.  And that you were a boring corporate drone.  Actually, yeah... sorry about that.
dethtron:  Well this isn’t exactly the first time my secret identity has been revealed on the blogosphere.  The important thing is that nobody ever figures out that dethtron’s alter ego is Anal_Parsons_Project... oh shit.
Uglyraincoat: I think the matching ensemble effect is quite flattering.
dethtron:  well thanks.  In honesty, though, that sweater didn’t exactly match those jeans until photoshop happened.  Fashion tips aside, when it came to designing my own avatar it pretty much had to be a joke about me not being able to find my way out of retail management.  For the record, six years later I’m stuck back in again.
Uglyraincoat: Tapped?


SinSynn: On Comp and Why Everything Needs NOVA...

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

Hey, did you ever get all psyched up to play a game of...whatever, and after you deployed all of yer lil' troopie guys and whatnot you looked over the table and you thought to yerself, "Meself, there is no way in hell I can win this game."
....and then you get pounded into lil' red meaty chunks for the next hour or so?

Did you ever have this happen at a Tournament?

Whether it was a bad mission or matchup, or a bad table, or whatever, sometimes it seems that you just....lost that game, somehow...before it ever got started.
You knew it, too. Going in.
It happens, doesn't it?

*All he does is roll sixes!*

Let's work under the assumption that your army list is a good one, so we can eliminate that as an issue.
Somehow, you just caught the short straw, and wound up with that one 'perfect storm' of coincidences that led to this situation,'re screwed.
That opponent you didn't want to see, on a table that totally works against you, in the one mission your army struggles with.
-BOOM!- There you are....


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Third Day of Fishmas

 Lauby: I had a lot of fun making the art on this one.  Googling for images of people on fire was a rate treat.  
Uglyraincoat: The elemental’s portly shape is pleasant, accentuated by his can-do body language.  Additionally, the upkeep cost is the single most poetic use of a game mechanic to represent life that I’ve ever seen.  If you don’t tend your elemental it will slowly burn out.  
dethtron:  campfire elemental demands a burnt offering.  Almost feel like it should have been a G for upkeep though, representing wood and all that.
Uglyraincoat: I like it.  Plus, forests are only about $3 per bundle.  
Lauby:  So long as there aren’t any Spotted Owls in them.


Change - Not Always For the Better...

So then...soon we'll be switching from one year to another, new years resolutions will be made and then broken almost instantly and a good few people will be using this 'landmark' as motivation for a change.

Of course there's always people with the opposite view-point that say that change is a bad thing. They do have a point...

But as this is a war-games site rather than a place to go to laugh at celebrities that have got fat (that's just a bonus) let's look at change in 40K...


Monday, December 26, 2011

New Member Monday - Presents of Mind

Hello and welcome to another week at the House of Paincakes!  I trust that if you're reading this, it means that you survived the first leg of the holiday season.  If not, then my condolences to you and your loved ones - but good on you for still being able to read!

Our posting schedule will still be a bit off until we get past new years and the annual "massive hangover we only sort of regret".  Lo drew the short straw this year with both Xmas and New Years falling on a Sunday, but she might just be able to bring in  the new year for us - providing that hangover preparations aren't too, too involved.

Also, you should be sure to check out the 12 Days of Fishmas and maybe leave some comments?  Think of it like a gift for us that doesn't cost any money - it's somewhere between the 'depressing circumstances of an O. Henry story' and 'macaroni art' on the gift scale.  But we'll take it just the same.  We're nothing if not gracious.

New Member Monday

Only one over the busy holiday season, so he's either dedicated to his hobbies or some sort of grotesque monster from a nightmare future where humans have thrown off the shackles of Xmas.  Either way, we're glad to have 'em.

Keywords: Warhammer 40k, sexy lingerie models. Only one of those is true.

There was no essay submitted, but we did find this on his blog:


The Second Day of Fishmas

 Lauby:  Ah yes.  Banding.  We were so totally into that for this set.  Some kind of hilarious nod to the card design of our youths.  
Uglyraincoat: Perhaps this would have gotten used if it was an enchantment, rather than an instant.  Or if it didn’t require only one type of creature.  Plus, I am allergic to this many cats.  
Dethtron:  I would maybe pay 0 mana to play this as an instant.  Seeing as to how the cost is 2, though, I can only wonder what the fuck we were thinking.  Oh and in the happenstance category, that ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlan and all of the sad cats and dogs (which mostly appear to just be cats and dogs about to sleep which are probably in fact happy and just sleepy rather than sad) is on as I write this, although this last sentence has run on a bit and the commercial is now long since over.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The First Day of Fishmas

Uglyraincoat:  It is good sometimes not to know things.  For example: this is a real fish.  They are a freshwater species that can jump some 6 feet out of the water to catch food (including birds), earning them the moniker “water monkey.”  It reminds me a lot of other big blue creatures in its ability to gain flying, and it nails the true spirit of island magic way better than djinn’s and other such non-sense.  Give me a 4/4 flying fish, and you feed me for a long time.  That’s how it goes, right?  
Dethtron:  it makes me sad when pet stores sell these.  There’s no joke there.  Just knowing that most of these are bound for 10 or 20 gallon tanks just makes me sad.
Lauby:  My name is Lauby and I approve this card. First card of the series and I have nothing of value to add.  Nice. Dethtron: way to choose alphabetical order to all of us.


The Von Show Festive Special

It's, umm.  Special.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 12 Days of Fishmas - Day 0

A Holiday Message from D. Tron
Boys and ghouls do we ever have a treat for you this Christmas. Back in the annals of history the gang had an annual spring fishing trip known only as Fishmas. While this is sadly now a thing of the past, we thought we’d share a little Magic the Gathering set we created to commemorate 2007’s Fishmas the Gathering. The HoP’s Christmas gift to you all will be to reveal this set in all of it’s (non-) glory over the next 2 weeks in what we’re calling the “12 Days of Fishmas.”

Since I’ve gone on record making fun of various home-brewed units for 40k and WFB over the years, I think it’s only fitting to air some dirty laundry I was involved with. In that spirit, Lauby, our friend Ugly Raincoat, and I will be letting it all flap around in the breeze and hopefully giving you a season of mirth and joy to take part in.


Friday, December 23, 2011

The Weekly Top X - Is It Bold?

Well HELL yes it's bold!

1) Gone to GroundWarmachine the Way I See It: The Intro.
A  BOLD  new series for a BOLD game!  I know I'm looking forward to future installments.  It'll be like those "let's play X' threads you see on Something Awful - only I'll actually care about the game being discussed.

2) The Buddy Times SUPER! Dungeon Explore - Review, Part: the 2nd
We've seen some reviews of this game cropping up all over the place.  This one has the advantage of being pretty dang good (BOLD, even) and marks the return of the Buddy Times.

3) Blood of Kittens - Best of 2011
It's that time of year again!  And I ain't talking about X-mas, or having to pay property tax on your car if you live in Connecticut.  No sir!  It's time for the always awesome best of series that Monsignor Taste runs.  And let me tell you a secret - there are some BOLD choices in here.

4) 3 for Int450 points is apparently not my sweet spot
Dok made a BOLD choice of army lists for his FLGS'.  Perhaps a little too bold?  Nevermind, that's the dumbest thing I've said in a while.  Go read the article though, I'm not doing it justice.

5) The Realm of Dungeons and DragonsLord of the Rings Sucks
A spectacularly BOLD claim.  My socks were knocked clean off.  Not because I disagree with Doctor Warlock, but because somebody else shares my heretical beliefs (about the books, anyways).


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gaming on a Budget: Gifts are Free

Yeah yeah yeah, there's no such thing as a free lunch and all that, but barring any emotional debt that your family and friends might put on you, the holidays are a great time to pad out your gaming collection for free- all you've got to do is let people know what you want.  And with Chanukah now underway, Christmas around the corner, Kwanza coming soon or having just happened (?), and your birthday coming up some time between now and this time next year it's never too early or too late to get your gift list out there.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

40k vs. America- a Xenos Editorial by SinSynn

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

There are certain phrases that get bandied about in the 40k Community, and at this point they are quite annoying to me.
This one gets me every time:

'40k is a beer and pretzels game, it was never meant to be played competitively.'

Usually another favorite of mine can be found lurking in the same thread/post/comment section:

'You're ruining the game.'

Nowadays, I simply make this face -_- and see an internet meme in my head:

*Cuz one good cliche deserves another, right?*

Still, I keep reading these things. Why? Because, well....they amuse me.
I just love a bad argument, I suppose...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

dethtron Messes up your Role-Playing Group but Good

Taking a big X-mas sized break from my usual fare, I'm going to talk to you all about role-playing today.  More specifically, I'm going to give you a list of the top 5 reasons I'm no longer allowed to be a player character.

You see, I generally am the one running the show as a DM, GM, or whatever.  I'll brag for a second and flat out say that I can weave a pretty good yarn and can keep a group of people on task, making me quite suited for this role.  Occassionally, though, somebody else wants to take the reigns and that's where things get a little weird.

In the past my behavior as a character in role-playing games has been checkered at best.  I've been known to participate in heroic acts of selfless sacrifice and engage in plans involving some real teamwork but if I'm being honest, more often than not I get bored off my ass and embark on plans and actions that can only be described as disruptive.

After the jump are the top 5 worst things I've ever done to a role-playing campaign.  I'd love to hear what the dumbest, most disruptive, most underhanded, etc thing you've ever done to a campaign is, so please leave a comment.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Von Show #5 - The Social Dimension

A big HoP sized apology to all of the Von Show fans.  We totally forgot to post this on Saturday, so please to be enjoying episode five today.

Before we begin: I am not actually as fat as my slouchy couch and the ruddy camera make me appear to be in this video.  I am slightly potbellied, all right?

Rah rah, script after the cut, you know how it is.






OK, I'M DONE SHOUTING NOW.  IT'S OUT of my system.  So I'll continue on in a more restrained fashion as not to completely upset the monocles of our British readers.

Honour the Vanquished 
Keywords: super newness, editorials, theory, some kind of Irish/Clampet hybrid

Noeste's Painting and Modelling 
Keywords: Warhammer Fantasy (mainly, but some bits of 40k, aquarelle-painting and other bits and pieces sneak in through the backdoor from time to time..)

No winning essay today...  so here's some traditional funny stuff to pass the time between this post and the Von Show.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

For Holy Terra Contest!

By Odin's beard have we got a doozy of a contest to share with you from one of our member sites. 

Paul (if that is indeed his real name) over at For Holy Terra is holding a reverse painting contest. 

While perhaps not exciting in the same way as a reverse cowgirl contest, this one still looks like a great time.  In the spirit of the season Paul is giving away a Space Marine Battleforce on his dime.  All you need to do is design a new chapter complete with heraldry, a color scheme, and back story (well and maybe a few other things that I've forgotten) and you're in the running.  3 lucky winners will receive fully assembled models from the set done up in your chosen color scheme.  How awesome is that?

For full details, but less needless sexual innuendo check out the contest specifics on For Holy Terra.

Now hurry up and make your chapter.  The deadline is nigh'.


[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Intelligent Design: Art (Part 1)

Last week, I started a series on Intelligent Design in gaming. 

I identified elements that seem to be common among gamers- including our first subject: Art. 

Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the sensesemotions, and intellect.- 

I find this particular way of expressing art as exceptionally helpful. It gives us a good framework and common ground for understanding- and to me, that's pretty important, because art is resoundingly subjective.

When discussing intelligent design, being consistent and using the same terms throughout the conversation makes reaching a conclusion much easier. The above definition invokes the same premises I mentioned as critical parts of an intelligently made game: one that appeals to us through our senses (art), affects emotions (emotional connection), and touches on our higher level thinking (intellect). That art understands all of this as its own premise brings my ramblings to their knees, yet at the same time confirms my thoughts all along. 

So in discussing art, there are individual parts to the whole. I've found that while other factors matter, as a rule, there are 3 main points to consider when talking about art in games. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

The Weekly To X - PROVOCATIVE TITLE: Genitals and Booze

Last week I finally figured out exactly what kind of title will draw the most people into a Top X.  I've tried jokes, strange literary references, making fun of Brent - to name a few.  But it turns out that you're all a bunch of damn drunks!

This week I'm combining in a new idea.  Or at least introducing it slowly.  

If you've made it this far, then I'm sorry to say that alcohol and naughty bits DO NOT play a pivitol role in this week's post.  It's a clever ruse, you see.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, " I don't feel bad"
But I probably should be careful.  If I cry wolf too many times, It'll all come crashing down. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gaming on a Budget: The Crawnmower

The week of me discussing my the folder full of Magic the Gathering decklists I recently found on my lost flash drive from 2006 continues.  This time I'll be putting the Gaming on a Budget spin on it.

Oddly enough, this entire article was written over 5 years ago in its entirety (intro and minor editing notwithstanding), proving that a) mid-twenties dethtron is pretty much as big of an asshole as early thirties dethtron and b) I was a stingy miser even when I had a decent job.  


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

User Content Wednesday - Welcome to Malifaux: A 40k defectors guide

A looooong time ago, 40k for the New Professional had a different URL.  There was lots of great content including a very cool series about the interchange of ideas between IRL and the games we play.  Then Google ate everything without any explanation and he was never able to retrieve it.   It was a pretty sad day.  The House of Paincakes flag was flown at half mast.  But not the US flag since that'd be a little extreme.

Anyway, as you can imagine the wind kind of left the Kennedy's sails even with the registration of a new domain and for a fresh start.  What follows was always one of my favorite posts that was miraculously saved by Google Reader.  I hope re-posting this article, in some small way, puts some of the aforementioned wind back in the aforementioned sails of the aforementioned Kennedy.

Note:  Kennedy, I have a ton of your old stuff bunged away, so let me klnow if you need it.

So, a comment by SinSynn really sparked the idea for this post. After reading his comment about how he might "defect" partially, I had the thought that there are probably loads of you out there who might really like some information about how to actually start up in Malifaux. There's some stuff about it out there, but nothing terribly cohesive. Thus, I have taken it upon myself to write up something that might approach a guide to Malifaux.

I'll be starting really basic and moving forward from there, so feel free to skip ahead when you read something you already know.

An obvious first place to start is the basic premise. Malifaux is set in a steam punk wild west horror setting. Yeah, sounds weird at first, but it all fits, bizarre as that sounds. The game uses cards instead of dice to determine the effects. Typically, you engage in duels, where one of your piece's characteristics + the value of a card flip is pitted against one of your opponent's piece's characteristics + the value of a card flip. The difference in the result determines your victory (and the degree of success).


SinSynn: Totally a Fanboi

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

So when it comes to like, 'popular culture,' I'm probably not the most tolerant of Xenos.
I pretty much universally hate everything, for no good reason.
Whatever it is that the Normals are discussing around their water coolers, I'm usually dead set against it.

*Dancing With the Stars is amazing, but not as good as America's Got Talent!*

Like many discerning aliens, I'm a being of more refined tastes.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Angel of Discard

Next on the tour of MtG decks  that I randomly found on a flash drive I lost in 2006 is a little gem I've named "The Angel of Discard."  It, like most of my other decks, is built on a delightfully shaky premise guaranteed to frustrate opponents and put you on the list of people not to play against- well, if it works anyway.

Ok, so I like really obnoxious decks.  This shouldn't be a shocker, so sue me.  I tend to favor lots of dispel and thus gravitate towards Blue and Black .  During Ravnica block, though, I got seriously into discard and the horrifying possibilities of card advantage.  Trading a card for a card to dispel is all well and good, but ensuring that your opponent is losing even the possibility of casting that card is even better.  This all propelled me toward the twisted world of this Black and White Deck seen after the jump.


Tournaments - The Bad Side......

When I talk about tournaments to people who don't go to them I quite often get the same two statements thrown at me.....

1) I only play for fun


2) I had a bad experience at 'insert name here' and It put me off.

The first one I'm going to completely ignore as I actually enjoy playing competitively so am most likely going to be having fun anyway.....however the second statement deserves some consideration.....

First we need to be honest with ourselves. Any event where a number of people are endeavouring to prove themselves superior to another group of people is going to attract the odd fuckwit. There are many people who validate themselves based on making other people miserable or who's sense of self worth is directly proportional to their own successes regardless of if these are at the expense of others.....if this wasn't true then there would never be anybody who wanted to go into politics or become a traffic warden.....


Monday, December 12, 2011

New Member Monday - Reading and Weeding

We've got a bit of a mixed bag this Monday - Sure we've got a new blog on the rolls, but we've also lost a few.

First up, our New Member:

GopherDave Abides... 
Keywords: Running a Game Store, Mostly pictures... with occasional words and deep thoughts...

For those of you who have been following Lo's weekly series, this is THE Dude she mentions all the time.  I think they're married or something...   If you've ever wanted some more insight into Lo's Musings of a Game Store owner, GopherDave's blog is the place to go.

Ok, that's the good news.  Now here's the inexorable and unyielding bad news.  We had to cut a few blogs from the rolls.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

dethtron Gathers All Your Magic, Sucks

I quit playing Magic the Gathering in about 2007 prior to Lauby and another friend of ours, representing the sum total of people I enjoyed playing MtG with, moved from the central coast to the east coast.  Given the local scene at the time here in Chicago, I simply couldn't deal with driving to my preferred in Niles to play against strangers whom I would most likely not enjoy being around.  Don't feel too bad for me, though, I went on to sell most of my collection and contribute significantly to the down payment on my house.

2006-7 also coincides with the loss of my trust Geek Squad flash drive, recently rediscovered in a random box of shit in my attic!  What was on that drive.  Well beyond a backup of some papers I wrote as in undergrad in the late 90's it had a folder with a few decklists that I was trying out during the Ravnica and Time Spiral blocks.  Some of my favorites from the time aren't in that folder.  It looks like I only had them in analog or apprentice form and lost those years ago.  I'll be sharing some of those amazingly terrible/insane decks with you all this week.  The fun never stops here at the HoP.


[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Introduction to Intelligent Design

Oh, that game is really great. I love it!

What makes it great?

And thus begins the trial and tribulation of my job, almost daily. Having knowledge and experience in a wide variety of games is an essential skill, but discussing them intelligently and with wisdom and forethought is even more important.