#116 – Do not go gentle into that ball of light

11 Comments on #116 – Do not go gentle into that ball of light

Hey! A lot of you are RPG types! And so: Attack the Darkness!

I mentioned this a while back while it was still in pre-order territory, but this is the debut game from my brother’s new game company, and it’s officially out now. Like, you can go buy it and it’ll show up an appropriate commercial-shipping-service interim later! It’s magical stuff, this e-commerce thing.

It’s a fun, card-driven tactical combat dungeon crawl game that does a really nice job of stripping down the complex rules of a traditional tabletop RPG combat system to something that plays quickly and with a lot of game-to-game variation. You can play it with or without a player acting as DM (so both pure group co-op and one-of-your-friends-trying-to-murder-you-all are options); you can teach it to folks with little or nil experience with RPG tactics in about fifteen minutes flat.

I was super excited to finally get my hands on the final product after having played the prototype back when Alex was first developing it; it was fun back then, and it’s fun and really nicely polished now, and the box comes with a ton of cards you can use to build up custom decks for the seven different character classes in the game. (You can also get started with the pre-built decks, so there’s no requisite “and now four hours of learning about deck-construction” roadblock to just jumping in and having fun.)

It’s a really slick package; if you’ve got a couple friends who dig on (or are curious about) some tactical monster-killin’ and treasure-huntin’ with some contemporary design twists, I really heartily recommend checking it out.

(And maybe if he moves enough units I can talk him into putting out a The Holodeck’s Down! edition some day. One can dream, at least.)

#115 – something something Inception something

12 Comments on #115 – something something Inception something

This is exactly the kind of tedious rookie shit that you pull because it sounds awesome on paper.

Geeks of a certain questionable stripe will be thinking immediately of the classic Magic: the Gathering card Shahrazad, a card which when played caused everybody to stop what they were doing in the actual game to play a game of, you know, Magic.

These games could end up involving someone playing another Sharazad. You could in theory have four of them in a deck. Multiple players could each have four in their decks.

You could play even play a Fork on the Shahrazad. Boom, play two subgames. And maybe a Forked Shahrazad or two in each of those subgames? Why not!

The math gets pretty terrible pretty quickly if you imagine a scenario in which someone builds a deck specifically around this concept. Conceptually: brilliant. In practice: just terrible. Just the worst thing. A good way to get people to not ever play with you again.

Anyway, Bashir’s probably dead or whatever? I dunno, I just work here.

#114 – The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

19 Comments on #114 – The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

Left as a point of personal interpretation for the reader is whether this means Worf just actively dislikes dancing and wants those who do it to die, or if he considers the idea of a deadly dance laudable for its aesthetic and fatalistic resemblance to ritual combat.

Setting aside my use of Geordi as an interpretive proxy for the game, there are just so many questions we’re left with about Chula, having only seen one short playthrough. Like, if this is the Wadi national pastime, there’s no way the room with the party can just be “oh, you drink and you’re okay”; every time someone rolled three red pips on shap three or whatever, the entire audience would just moan and be like, “oh, whatever, it’s the gas-and-drink room” and start talking about yesterday’s episode of Allamaraine Children while the players went through the motions. So the randomization element must be a part of it, yeah? They’ve got to keep you guessing, got to make it so even if you already know the basic structure of the puzzle it’ll take some effort to discover the specific solution before you expire.

And does the Chula game actually get determined entirely by the roll of the dice, with deterministic lookup tables handling the details like Geordi is doing here? Or was Falow in the show subtle influencing the details in an active sense, with twiddles of the finger on some hand-held interface, say?


Also, I swear to god I had no idea when I started this project that I’d get so much stupid joy out of just having e.g. Bev throw shade at someone in a wordless panel.

#113 – Random Encounter at Farpoint

21 Comments on #113 – Random Encounter at Farpoint

This party scenario in Move Along Home, there’s actually a thing about it that the episode never actually addresses specifically that I think is fun to consider, which is:

Are the Wadi partygoers on Third Shap holograms programmed to stand around laughing at the players, or are they actual Wadi socialites attending the holocast equivalent of a spectated video game event? Like, you can just log into a Wadi VR chatroom and have drinks with other folks who Like To Watch, and wait for hapless gamers to come through? Maybe even throw an actual party in a holosuite somewhere where a couple dozen of you can stand around chatting and drinking in person while waiting for the next gas-them-to-death event to occur?

Maybe every single game of Chula gets networked into a single metaserver, galaxy-wide. Maybe this trip to the Alpha Quadrant wasn’t just a novelty for Falow and his entourage, it was a major, major event for some Wadi media corporation, a sort of Aliens Gone Wild / Chula Gladiators / Falow’s Casino Nightmares reality show special type thing.

Also, you had to know that if Sisko was going to be grudging about doing hopscotch there was no way Picard was even considering it.

#112 – Allamaraine, in your head, allamaraine, until you’re dead

31 Comments on #112 – Allamaraine, in your head, allamaraine, until you’re dead

The worst part is no one will probably even bother to ask Geordi what “allamaraine” means in Wadiish. WHY DOES HE EVEN DO THIS WORLDBUILDING.

Also, if the aural image in the punchline isn’t bothering you enough already, keep in mind that when Data is probably specifically emulating the sound of Geordi himself pretending to be a little girl. This is practically a dream sequence from Nightmare on Elm Street.

#111 – it’ll play Jacks with your eyeballs!

10 Comments on #111 – it’ll play Jacks with your eyeballs!

For anybody wondering to what extent I make an effort to not let this strip be All Horndog Riker All The Time, note for the record that today’s strip does not contain a multi-panel digression with Riker telling an anecdote about a girl he met once on Risa named Chandra, and how she could take on my forms as well, and etc.

Self-control, that’s what I’m all about.

Of course, we get a Riker digression anyway, but I’m only human. And I really like the idea that Bashir is in this capacity not just a Mary Sue of Riker himself, but a sort of head priest of the Church of Mary Sue, a proselytite on behalf of the idea of how awesome Riker himself is. It’s one thing to name your character Bill Striker and go out there and be awesome; it’s another thing entirely to have characters who are just regular super handsome doctors who have never met you still know who you are and e.g. how superlative your thesis on close quarter combat formations is.