Category Archives: geekdom

A little D&D

Played a little 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons yesterday. It was the second time I’ve played. Some of the people I ref a GURPS game for have been playing for a while. I missed a game, but was back yesterday. It was fun. 5th Edition is a bit more “power gamer” of a system. Characters are a lot more powerful, but adversaries are too. It all evens out. There are some things I really like about it. For one thing, there are not limitations on the classes or levels that various characters races can achieve, and no difference between male and female characters. It is a much more inclusive game. There are more character class options too. At this point I prefer to GM in the GURPS system, but playing D&D is great fun. Always has been.

I’ve been skating a lot. Haven’t written much on this blog simply because I’ve not had that much to say. Watching politics in the country right now is mind-boggling, and it seems to be fueling a lot more social conflict. It’s a bummer. I’d rather skate and play games.

More on video games

I feel like I should clear the air about video games.

I don’t really hate them.  I stink at them, but don’t hate them.

When all’s said and done (and other overused sayings), I think people should do what they enjoy as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. So if video games are your thing, than have at it. Good for you. Follow your passion, etc., etc., amen.

And no, I’m not setting the stage to announce that I have a secrete video game addiction problem. Nope. Just feeling generous today.

Here is my video game ownership history, just to prove I have explored this area somewhat…

  • Mattel Electronics Missle Attack handheld video game.
  • Mattel Electronics Sub Attack handheld video game
  • Nintendo Super NES system, on which I played Super Mario World for a couple of years, but really nothing else. Still have it. Still works.
  • Sony Playstation. I played a car racing game and a snowboarding game. Don’t have it anymore.
  • Nintendo Wii — I currently have this, and enjoy playing Rock Band 2 with my wife. Also own Godzilla Unleashed, Wii Fit, Rock Band 3, and Wii Sports. Pretty much just play Rock Band though.

Now my cards are on the table.

 

Books, Paper, Pencils, and Dice.

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New dice for my nephew.

I got my nephew his gaming dice yesterday, and sent them to him today, including cool dice bag.

After becoming kind of interested in gaming the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of thinking about Role Playing Games and how rad they are.

How much better than “card” games they are.

How much better than video games they are.

I think you’ll find a lot of old time gamers who also greatly disrespect card games like Magic: the Gathering. Really, all that shit is all Pokemon-esque. It’s just a vehicle for selling more and more cards and/or video games/consoles. Weak. I’ll admit, I like occasionally playing video games, but man, I tried playing Halo with my nephews last week, and it was 100% bullshit confusing. Then we went to the arcade where I totally whipped their asses on Galaga! Yeah man — it was great! Here’s what was kind of funny. My oldest nephew kept getting blown up in Galaga, and said “There’s so much to keep track of.” That is really really funny, because to me Halo is the same, with the added complication that I have no idea where the hell my character is or what I’m doing.

At any rate, whether playing Halo or Galaga, I am happy to play video games with my nephews, even when the are kicking my ass.

But I digress.

Why RPGs are more betterer than stuff that is worse than them…

  • Creative: RPGs are creative. Players create. They create together. They use imagination.
  • RPGs are social in nature. Pretty much can’t play them alone.
  • Don’t involve looking at a damned screen.
  • Don’t go bad because they move to a new gaming platform.
  • Slower pace than today’s stupid fast society.
  • If you are a gamer, there are games you will remember for the rest of your life. Few can say the same of a video games.

Some might say that video games help give kids the skills they need for modern work. Really? Do you really believe that? Do you WANT your kid to be a cubicle monkey like you (or me). That’s not how humans should live. Watch Office Space, for “BOB”‘s sake. You should want your kids to be musicians, poets, writers, artists, liquor store owners, or librarians. Right?

OK, well, as I have been updating my D&D knowledge, I learned that just this month the first materials of the 5th Edition came out, with the Players Handbooks, DMG, and Monster Manual coming out over the rest of the year. Stoked because they made the basic rules and whatnot available for free as a PDF. I have checked it out and it looks pretty good. Looks like they have un-fucked what they fucked  up in 4th edition. Hard to tell without actually playing, but it looks pretty good. They have a “Starter Set” available in the stores that has a prefab adventure to help new players get started, and it is only about $20. That’s pretty damned good.

My friend Dave is picking up some of the 2nd Edition books for me, which is great. I’ve used them. They are essentially the same as the much-loved 1st Edition, but with refinements. Gonna get them, and also order the old books from Amazon. I’ll send the old books to my nephew, since the new edition isn’t totally available yet, but I think he will dig the new one when it can be purchased.

Also in gaming news, an old highschool and college friend and sometimes-gaming buddy is moving back up here next month. He has been working on a campaign setting and rules, so I am hoping that we can play once or twice a month. They will have to be shorter sessions than the old days – maybe 3 or 4 hours – since we are old dudes with jobs now – but I think it would be fun.

 

 

 

Nerd Report

OK, I’m back from my vacation in Boston.

I played Qwirkle with my nephew. It was really fun! Simple rules, but lots of strategy. We dug it a lot. Had hoped to play more, adding his brother and sister to the mix, but they were off on a camping trip.

I watched my niece and nephew play a lot of Minecraft. The mentioned to the older nephew (my Qwirkle partner) that what he is doing with Minecraft is a lot like playing Dungeons and Dragons. That night he spent a lot of time researching D&D, and now wants to play. I checked out the current rules (4th edition), and they are shit. Apparently everyone hates them – they are too video game like. So I’m gonna pick him up some used copies of all the old books (1st edition) and some dice and send them up there.

In other nerd news, we watched an episode of Doctor Who, which was fun, and talked a lot of D&D.

These kids play X-Box and all that stuff constantly. We went to an arcade and I learned that I can kick their asses at Galaga and Centipede. They suck at oldschool video games. I am going to have fun with this fact. They are toast next time we go there.

Getting All Nerdy

Earlier this month I read the book “Just a Geek“, by Wil Wheaton. I’ve been reading his blog on and off for many years, but the last couple of years I kind of lost track of him. Then I came back to his blog last month, remembered how much I enjoyed it, and started watching some of his web series about table-top games, called (appropriately), “Tabletop.”

This show, Tabletop, man it really makes me want to get some friends together and play some of these games. It looks fun. Back in the early 1990s, I ran a D&D game in which my wife and number of friends played. It was great fun, as they were all new to gaming.

The problem with D&D and other traditional RPGs is that they take tremendous amounts of time. That’s a problem for me, at least. I have a lot of other projects. My wife is busy working on a PhD. We can’t take the time to spend hours and hours playing D&D. And of course, I’d have to spend just as much time getting the game ready, as GM, before we even played.

All the time involved in preparing and playing RPGs is directly proportion to lack of physical exercise of the participating human. You rarely see any non-rotund gamers older than 22. So even though I think gaming is fun, it’s not as fun as skateboarding, Aikido, and not being a human sloth.

I should say this now — I say this all with love.  I love the geeks. I don’t care that they’re mostly in pretty bad shape. This isn’t a jock making fun of them, OK? If I had an extra 30 hours of free time per week, I’d be right there with them. Part of the fun of geekdom is the absolute, uncensored, total psycho STOKE that geeks have for their comics, games, movies, etc. I have always been a bit too reserved a person to fully participate in that. I always felt like an interloper in the Geek World, but I still have always appreciated that enthusiasm.

If I’m gonna be extend my sedentary ways from work to home, I’d rather be reading.

Which bring me back to Tabletop. There are some really cool, creative games out there that can be played in about an hour. That is kind of appealing to me. It’s not the same thing as RPGs creativity-wise, but I think it offers some of the same fun experience. In fact, I found a game on the show that I think my nieces and nephews would really enjoy playing. Gonna get it and take it on our next visit. Should be a blast.

I’m going to check for this one particular table-top game at Madness Comics & Games, in Plano, Texas. I am lucky to work and live near this store, and let me just say this, it is the BEST comics/gaming store I’ve ever seen. They have frickin’ everything! And I do mean EVERYTHING. Looking for every one of the Hellboy compilations? They’ve got it. Looking for a place to play your games? They have a HUGE gaming area.

OK, that’s all for now. I need to make a saving-throw, then drink a potion of healing, load all my shit into a back of holding, and get back to work.

Edit!

OK, I was just thinking about gaming, and this came to mind. Maybe I’m just being an old guy — I don’t know. It’s no secret that I’m just not into video games. At our Aikido dojo, which exists within a larger sports facility, I often see a group of about 6-8 little boys sitting in the hall just beyond the entrance, all focused on their tablet computers and video games. It’s kind of funny and weird. First, it’s funny because here’s this little kid gaming posse. It’s kind of cool in that way. They are playing games, which is enjoyable. But damn man, they are all staring a their own screens. so they’re sitting together, which shows the desire of kids to do thing together, but all playing their own games alone. That is kind of sad to me. They should be doing something together. At least it seems like that to me. Whatever.