Important Stuff

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Politically Incorrect Gamer: Adult Material

Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

Sorry I missed you guys last week. 
I ended up working a 6am to 6pm shift at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, repairing damage done by Hurricane Sandy...which is, apparently, a lot of what I'll be doing for the next year or so.
I'm an electrician, by the way. I've mentioned that to you guys, right? Hey, a Xeno hasta earn a living - disintegrators ain't free, y'know.

*A snazzy model like this one will cost ya a pretty penny*

So, yeah- apologies for not bein' around.

Anywho, I'm about to write a post that's kinda been stuck in my craw for a bit now, just rattling around. It's been there long enough to become annoying, actually. As you all know, I'm not a big 'planner' when it comes to my posts; the post you're about to read is the one I'm about to write.
Or, at least, I hope you're going to read it. I'm sure this wandering introduction isn't helping to sell the piece.

I'll tell ya what, though- you should prolly read it, cuz I'm sure I'm about to spout something stupid.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Concerning Hobbits: An Unexpected Review

First things first: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is, essentially, fanfiction. You adapt a book to a film, some things are going to change - it's par for the course with moving between a medium where everything has to be described in turn to one where things can just exist side-by-side and be seen, between a medium where there's a narrative voice and one where that's usually kind of weird and intrusive. That's going to happen. It's still possible, though, to produce a pretty faithful adaptation of source material (just look at Watchmen).

Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have not done that. Their Hobbit has, well, made a few changes. It's developed a few characters and incidents, and added a few more; it's reshuffled quite a few plot elements; it's explicitly setting out as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings rather than 'that children's book that Rings was the sequel to'; it's recognisably the same story, but everything that Tolkien set off the page has moved onto the screen, executing a generic shift toward the epic. It's a film made by four people that love the book but want to seize control of it and do things with it, who love it for its potential rather than as a pristine and untouchable cultural artefact. It's exactly the sort of thing that good fanfiction does - but it's not one for Tolkien purists.

And, frankly, I think that's a good thing.

[What follows will, naturally, be spoileriffic. I wouldn't normally warn you about this, given that the book has been out since 1937 and all, but there's that much new stuff here that I think it's worth doing. If you care about spoilers do not click 'Read More'. You have been warned.]


Monday, December 17, 2012

New Member Monday - Two Weeks For One

Hello and welcome, everyone!  New Member Monday is back after a short hiatus.  A hiatus you say?  Indeed good sirs and madams.  Your humble author was just this past week struck down by a vile and insidious contagion that rendered him unable to do anything except watch Ken Burns documentaries.

"You may remember my film style from that one episode of Community"
Sadly, I could not send any missives detailing my convalescence and for that I am sorry.  But there was good reason, dear readers!  SinSynn had only just finished reading HG Wells' War of the Worlds and I did not want to cause him any undue stress by fueling his nightmare scenarios with the ghastly realities of the common  cold.

New Member Monday

Hour of the Wolf 
Keywords: Warhammer 40,000, 40K, RPG, Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Only War

Temporary 2+
Keywords: Warhammer Fantasy, 40k, Magic: the Gathering, lotsofrage, whatever else I want to post about.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

[Games Anatomy] We Interrupt This Programme

All right, boys and girls, here's the deal.

I'll be spending the festive season in the wilder and woolier parts of Merrie England (in the smog-strewn streets of Manchester, where Hark's from, and in the depths of the West Country, where I'm from), and as is the custom with me and these little away missions, I'll be pretty much off the grid while I'm there.

Now, I'll be coming back, don't worry, but I'll be coming back with something a bit different, forsaking my current role as THE ARR PEE GEE GUY here at the House of Paincakes and blogging about those tabletop wargames played with miniatures which we are (allegedly) all here to talk about.

See, I'm committed to playing quite a lot of 40K over the first few months of 2013 for my games club's slow-grow league - enough, in fact, to have a weekly or at least fortnightly battle report, and I'm obliged to produce a modelling report once a month as well, and if there's one thing I think the House of Paincakes homepage has been short on so far, it's regular battle reports.

So that's the long and the short of it. I'm taking a few weekends' break, but I'll be back early in January with THE VON REPORT. Stay tuned, kids, and happy holidays to one and all!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[Musings of a Game Store Owner] GGP- The Big Shots

This is the last installment of the series about getting a game published. I had hoped to share some insights from folks that had published materials with the "big boys", but the interviews never panned out.

The thing is, that doesn't mean there isn't information available out there about the process. It's been well over a decade, but at one time, TheDude was in negotiations to write a supplement book for HERO. He had a great idea, and he had some friends who had worked for HERO who were willing to vouch for his work.

He made the connections with the line editor and started talking about the idea he had and how to turn it into a product. At the time, it didn't go anywhere (mostly because we saw friends not getting paid for work performed); but it was valuable to learn how to proceed in the process of being a published author in the industry.

Things are a little different now. The OGL has changed the landscape pretty seriously. While it allows ease of access to new ideas, the rules and requirements have to be accepted and met before you can publish. For those of you who aren't familiar with the OGL, it's open source material to use for game/adventure publication. It's owned by WotC, and it's community enforced. Porky has an illuminating article about the OGL here.

Something he mentions in his article is worth repeating- Pathfinder was born out of the OGL. The folks at Paizo wanted choices, but were willing to follow the rules that "conventional wisdom" said would ruin the industry. It didn't.

Pathfinder is currently the best selling RPG in the industry, beating out D&D by several percentage points. Pathfinder has let a large amount of its published material go through third party vendors to avoid a lot of risk, but also reap a ton of rewards. This "little game that could" is taking advantage of the dynamics of the industry to create a community driven game. People who want different things publish them at their own risk, but get big ups by applying the Pathfinder label to their material. Win-win.

Would any of our favorite tabletop games benefit from something like this? Wouldn't it be great to be able to publish our own scenarios, codex material and even figures for big name games and not have to worry about the hammer of a lawsuit? Or would that water down the brand and create confusion?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one... because I think it's worth considering.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

What is the 'Official' fluff now?

Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

One of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever had with the Ultimate Rival, and believe you me there have been many, began due to the inclusion of a Land Speeder in the Horus Heresy novel entitled The First Heretic.
Mind you, this is by far my favorite Horus Heresy book. Aaron Dembski-Bowden wrote it, so that's more or less reason enough for me. More than that, however, I felt that it was the first Horus Heresy book that really focused on the particular Primarch that was it's focus. During the course of the novel, I really got to know Lorgar. I empathized with his desperate need for something to believe in; something bigger than himself.
Unfortunately for him and his Bearers of the Word, the truth you want is never quite exactly the truth you get, and by the time he realizes that it's already too late.
Poor Lorgar.
Yup, I loved that book.

When I tried to discuss it with the Ultimate Rival, he scoffed.
'Pffft! That was so bad I couldn't get past the first chapter.'
Surprised, I immediately inquired why.
'The Ultramarines show up right a Land Speeder!'
I'm somewhat confused now. Ok, a Land Speeder. So?
'The Land Speeder wasn't invented until after the Horus Heresy! There were no Land Speeders then! That's why the Traitor Marines don't have them! Duh.'
Ummm....ok, that's some sorta big deal because of why? This is science fiction, after all. It's all sorta made up, isn't it?
'Listen, if the author can't even bother to do a little research and get the fluff right, then I can't be bothered to read it. End of story.'

*And Spock was famous for saying 'never tell me the odds, kid'*


Friday, December 7, 2012

[Games Anatomy] Veteran Of The Edition Wars - Vampire: the Masquerade vs. Vampire: the Requiem

Edition warfare is a funny old beast. Seems like you can't produce even a fairly minor revision of your core mechanics and setting without your motivations for doing so being questioned, your approach to doing so mocked, and your efforts in doing so dismissed as the most vile and base calumnies ever to besmirch a gaming table. Woe betide you if it takes your fancy to make fairly major revisions, as White Wolf did in 2004 with the release of Vampire: the Requiem, the successor to founding father of the Entity: the Pompousness RPG naming tradition Vampire: the Masquerade.

I'm burbling about Vampire today because it's the edition war in which I have actually fought, on both sides at one time or the other. Like the soldier of fortune I am, I spurn the customs and fashions of the time and pursue pure profit, in the form of an improved gaming experience for everyone unfortunate enough to sit down at my tables. The weird thing is that in the eight years for which this conflict has existed, I have never even managed to get a Requiem game played. Read on, and perhaps we'll find out why.

(Note: no guarantee of findings-out is promised. Not even I know where this is going to go.)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Contest Announcement - Benchvent: Show us Your Workspace

Hello folks, we've got info on a fun little contest for you this fine Tuesday.

Granted, we got a request to post info on this contest a while ago and then promptly dropped the ball.  In fairness we were just absolutely buried in paperwork due to SinSynn's recent run-in with INS.  Some misunderstanding over SinSynn's use of the term "resident alien".  Some light disintegration was involved.  Followed by heavy paperwork.

Anyways, Scott over at a place called Benchvent wants to give some lucky hobbyist something called an Exagon R.  Which I'm lead to believe is either the name brand for a kind of continuum transfunctioner or, more likely, some sort of ventilation system.

All kidding aside, the fine folks over at Benchvent are holding a giveaway contest and all YOU have to do is send in a picture of your hobby workspace by Decemember 14. A winner will be chose at random and then sent a $300 dollar piece of equipment from some blokes in the UK.  Keen!

All the details can be found on this page: Show us your Workspace and Win an Exagon R

Disclaimer:  the House of Paincakes is not receiving any goods or services in exchange for promoting this contest nor did we solicit anything from anyone.  We were simply contacted out of the blue by Scott who correctly deduced that we love contests.


Monday, December 3, 2012

New Member Monday - Legion of One vs. the Heat Wave

Hello and Howdy, folks!  Welcome to this unseasonably warm day in December which also happens to be a a Monday.  It's, seriously, 69 degrees outside where I am in Illinois.  And it's only that low because the sun is setting.  Though it looks like things might start getting cold cool on Wednesday. Maybe I'll be able to turn my Air Conditioner off once it get's down to a FRIGID 52 degrees.

So it's looking like our horrible, horrible summer decided it wasn't finished with us.  Take that, White X-mas.

I know this intro isn't all that related to gaming or whatever the hell the HoP mission statement is this week, but it really rustles my jimmies.

New Member Monday

Legion of One
Keywords: 40k, 40k related things, bat reps, painting logs


Thursday, November 29, 2012

[Musings of a Game Store Owner] GGP: A Kick in the...

So you have a game design or product. You hold a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to produce it.

It's a little more complicated than just "take the money and run". There's a lot more that goes into the process than collecting the cash. I talked to a few folks who have been there and done that to get a real sense of how it goes down, and what to expect.


Monday, November 26, 2012

New Member Monday - Holy Crap, You Guys. Srsly.

Hey folks and welcome to a post Thanksgiving week on the House of Paincakes (recently voted juiciest turkey in the American Mid-west).

I've not got much time to banter today, because I need to show you all something so amazing it may cause some face melting issues if I don't frame it right.  So let me introduce our new blog roll member a bit early:

New Member Monday

Calth Burns
Keywords: 30K, Ultramarines, ForgeWorld, Thunderhawk, Cataphractii, KnowNoFear

Ok.  Now one of those keywords up there is of particular interest.  Here's why:

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a fully assmebled, kit-bashed Thunderhawk gunship.

The intrepid author at Calth Burns has gone above and beyond on this thing and it looks to me like it was well worth the effort.

Here's his past progress:

Kit-bashed Thunderhawk
Kit-bashed Thunderhawk begins!
Kit-bashed Thunderhawk Construction Underway
Thunderhawk Superstructure
Kit-Bashed Thunderhawk is Finished



Sunday, November 25, 2012

You Hafta Say Zoom When You Move Your Flyer

Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

So, many Special Rules does 40k have again?
...I counted EIGHTY, from Acute Senses (which totally changed to some outflank-y thing now), to Zealot (which is new to me).


That's redonkulous.
Combine that with the fact that it seems like Games Workshop seemingly threw the 5th Edition Rulebook out a random window and started from scratch, and I gotta tell ya I'm finding my initial read-through of 6th Edition to be pretty darn funny.

*This is how I feel when I think I'm starting to understand the whole thing*