Archives for March 2008

An illuminating review of culture in the movie The Last Samurai

MCN Review: Last Samurai

This review by David Poland is incredibly illuminating on aspects of Samurai culture. While the film The Last Samurai is entertaining and fun to watch it does get history wrong and it also gets the notion of what it is to be a Samurai wrong as well. I really enjoyed reading this article. With work still continuing on producing Japanese Art of War 2 I find this encouraging and inspirational:

[The Samurai] believed in a higher plane of responsibility. They believed in honor above self. That belief led to their extinction.
–David Poland

DnD 4e Review

The Hexxenhammer DnD 4e Review

As some of you know I am an ardent and life long supporter of the Hero System. I gave 3rd Edition DnD a shot and did not like it at all. Everyone seems to have a hateful rant about 4th edition which makes me think I’ll probably like it! Here is a rather positive review of the system that is pretty well illuminating on how it is different. I remain skeptical but I do like that it seems to have a clean and rational approach. My biggest problem with DnD is that from white box to 3.5 the system was mechanically inconsistent. Hero on the other hand is mechanically consistent from first to last page. I want the variety to come from the role playing and the choices I make, not from the a system of shoe-horned ideas. It seems possible from the description that the new system may indeed be The One long ago prophesied to come from seemingly no where and be our salvation. 😉

Interactive Map of the Empires of the Middle East

Absolutely fascinating to watch. The group that put this together are very talented and they’ve pulled together something that I consider very useful. The idea of national boundaries is so new to this region, and perhaps to the World, as to perhaps be transitory I think. Anyway enjoy! The group is called “Maps of War“.

Has enough time passed?

***Warning: Totally Tasteless Humor***

I wanted to write about Gary Gygax’s passing but I could not come up with a blog title that wasn’t inappropriate. I am sure he was a great guy and I certainly recognized the profound impact he has had on gaming as well as my own life. Still. Here are some of the headlines I thought of that I rejected and ultimately decided would not be good obits. May he rest in peace:

  • 0 HP; Gary Gygax passes away
  • Gary Gygax blows final saving throw
  • Get the body and 1,000 GP to the High Priest; Gary Gygax falls
  • Grandfather of all Gamers Retires Earth Campaign
  • We will never know why all corridors were exactly 10′ wide; Gygax Passes
  • Gygax forced to roll up new character
  • Gygax Death and 4th Ed, DnD Preview unrelated, says company official

Stop working, check out this Pulse Rifle

Hollywood Collectibles sent out their newsletter today with a very tantalizing photo. NO DETAILS but if thing is full-size I will get one no matter what stupid price tag they put on it. Oh and HC if you are listening, full lights, sounds and propane muzzle flash plus the most recognizable shot noise in all of film making history!

And if you have never seen Aliens and have no idea what I am talking about or why anyone would spend big $$$ on a replica of a gun that never existed and can’t be used for either home defense or airsoft… you are on the wrong blog! Go Away!

Common Mistakes With Tau

Tau Online – Common Mistakes With Tau

The link is to an good article for fighting in the Warhammer 40K world. I don’t play 40K but I found the site because I was looking up Tau statistical functions. The article uses some basic statistics to analyze a fighting strategy and this is what I think makes gaming interesting! Here is a solid analysis for a given choice (divide and conquor vs. overlapping firepower). With an examination of the probable results they have concluded that for the particular fighters with their particular weapons they need to concentrate their mass not divide it up. I find it great that someone besides myself likes to use statistical analysis to look at game decisions. It has real life applications.

New Games:Frontlines Warfare :: Features of Frontlines: Fuel of War

Frontlines Warfare :: Features of Frontlines: Fuel of War

I’ve recently gotten quite a few new games. I’ll post one entry per game over the next week to cover them. Today I’d like to talk about Frontlines – a grim, near-future based military shooter. I had originally gotten “Turning Point: Fall of Liberty” but it was so god awful bad I traded it in. I lost quite a bit of coin on that one but better to have recovered what I could than continued to play on. It really was that disappointing and awful.

Ok on to Frontlines. The premise is that oil supplies collapse in the next 4 years launching an apocalyptical war for the remaining supply. During this war nukes get used and render some of the battlefields soaked in radiation. It is a very grim storyline and not terribly far fetched though I would hope that should such a scenario pan out we’d resort to a massive scientific effort instead of a military one.

The story POV is that of an embedded journalist. Though you play the part of a soldier in the single player campaign don’t get too used to the character… not trying to spoil the story so I won’t say anymore. 😉

Very destructable environment
Fantastic sound
Fantastic graphics
Drones are incredible amounts of fun
Story is interesting
80% of the maps provide great tension and military problems to solve (the other maps are kind of lame)

The parts of the environment that aren’t destructable are weird (saplings have more resiliancy than a concrete barrier.)
Ammo is unbelieveably plentiful. I am not sure why they don’t just give you infinite ammo given the number of times I was actually out of it.
You can take a LOT of damage before you go down. Not quite Halo 3 will full shields but not far off either.
Ending mission is incredibly lame. Very disappointing. Not very climactic.
The AI is idiot/savant. Every game pretty much has this issue. I just keep wishing someday the really good game AI will become common knowledge and appear in all games.
The campaign is pretty short. I’ve not tried the online play but I am going to guess it is very intense.

Overall the game reminds me of Modern Combat 2 only not as arcadish.

Very nice Napoleonics blog: Les Princes du Lichtenbourg: 2e Bataille de Prina Les Esquisses

Les Princes du Lichtenbourg: 2e Bataille de Prina Les Esquisses I came across this blog on The Miniatures Page and it is quite nice. Lots of great photos of Napoleonics games and discussion. Most of the discussion is in French but there are plenty of online resources for translating it into somewhat passable English. Enjoy!

Many Thanks to Rackham!

Recently the fine folks at Rackham took notice of the article I wrote comparing of the rules similarities and differences between Confrontation:TAOR and AT-43. Well two days ago they put a notice of this article in their newsletter and and my site traffic quadrupled. No, that does not mean 4 people showed up! I got over 200 unique visitors from that boost. I normally get under 50 unique visitors a day (and many of them are finding the site by googling for images and not my actual content.) It was nice getting that many people visiting because they are interested in the same things I am. So, thanks to Rackham for the free promotion. It is greatly appreciated. Thanks also for the very kind words in your free online newsletter. It was better than I deserve!

Useful AT-43 Links

I wanted to give a mention of a couple of web resources that I enjoy that support AT-43. The first is the well done Damoclese File. This is Ken Chipman’s baby and its a beautiful site. If you are trying to explain AT-43 to friends then point them here at some point. It is a fan’s perspective.

Another is a mailing list I am on. The AT-43 Mailing List has fans just like you with all the questions and experiences to share. Its a small group but active. Definitely give it a look.

Also many thanks to Rackham for the wonderful mention of this blog on their weekly newsletter! It is always a great read and was a bit of a surprise when I saw that they mentioned the blog in such glowing terms! Honestly that was unexpected. You can sign up on their website for the newsletter. I highly recommend it – it brings all the latest news on Confrontation and AT-43 to your inbox. Also the site has the official forums which are an excellent source of information, inspiration and wild speculation!