Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Comics Day

This week's haul.

  • Angel #35
  • Incorruptible #8
  • Madame Xanadu #25
  • Fantastic Four #581
  • First Wave #3
  • Gotham City Sirens #14
  • Teen Titans #85
  • Wonder Woman #601
  • Action Comics #891
  • Detective Comics #867
  • The Flash #4
  • Green Lantern Corps #50
  • Green Lantern #56
  • Justice League of America #47
  • Justice League : Generation Lost #6
  • Batman : The Return of Bruce Wayne #4
  • Tarot #63

That's it! Action continues to be way more interesting than JMS's Superman.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Comics Day

Kind of a big week.

  • PS 238 #45
  • The Incredibles #11
  • Darkwing Duck #2 - This just got upgraded from miniseries to ongoing. Yes.
  • Heroic Age : Prince of Power #3
  • The Spirit #4 - Just.. not feeling it.
  • Superman / Batman #74 - Who ever thought this title would be better than the main Superman title?
  • Batman Beyond #2
  • Batman : Streets of Gotham #14
  • Supergirl #54
  • Power Girl #14 - Love the art. Hate torpedoing the previous status quo.
  • Zatanna #3 - Well! I figured that villain would be more long-term.
  • DC Universe : Legacies #3
  • Time Masters : Vanishing Point #1
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #3 - Now we're rocking on all cylinders, I think.
  • Birds of Prey #3 - Oh, snap! Canary's sins come back to haunt her, as do Oracle's.
  • Justice Society of America #41
  • Brightest Day #6 - I hope she's okay. Dammit.
  • Sci Fi and Fantasy Illustrated #2

That's it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week in Geek

This week's been dedicated to my poor ailing computer, which is still behaving oddly. I did make time for some first-season Saturday Night Live, some Dragonball GT, and Pokemon, though.

I love seeing the old SNL episodes - before they'd really nailed down the format. They're so uneven, but still hilarious. Netflix's video streaming has justified itself.

I also spent a little time retro-gaming, with the XBox Live port of the classic arcade sidescroller Magic Sword. Pure. Chaos.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Comics Day

Here's the list this week.

  • Robocop #5
  • The Thanos Imperative #2
  • The Mighty Crusaders #1
  • Doc Savage #4
  • Magog #11
  • Titans #25
  • Batgirl #12
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. #18
  • Brave and the Bold #35
  • Superman #701
  • Adventure Comics #516
  • Booster Gold #34
  • Batman #701
  • Justice League : Generation Lost #5

That's it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week in Geek

I ended up being a bit busy yesterday, so I didn't get to this post in a timely fashion. My biggest geek thing from last week would be the Weird Al concert. It was an excellent show - the second time I've seen Al live - and I even got some pictures. I'll have to crop and size them, then maybe I can link them here. He had a new polka medley for the show, and a snippet of at least one new parody that could end up on his next album.

My new MasterMaze pieces arrived, as well, and I got them opened and inspected yesterday - very nice. They're 3-D dungeon terrain, made of painted resin, from a company called Dwarven Forge. Very cool looking, but expensive. I ordered them while at Origins.

I'm still troubleshooting my computer, and I have the problem narrowed down to either the motherboard or the power supply, and I'm strongly leaning towards the latter. I have a borrowed power supply that I can try to use to confirm my hypothesis.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Comics Day

Here's this week's list.

  • Irredeemable #15
  • Hercules : Twilight of a God #2
  • Fantastic Four Annual #32
  • JSA All-Stars #8
  • Batman : Odyssey #1
  • Red Robin #14
  • Doom Patrol #12
  • Batman and Robin #13
  • The Great Ten #9
  • Secret Six #23
  • Brightest Day : The Atom Special #1
  • Brightest Day #5
  • Knights of the Dinner Table #164

That's it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week in Geek

And an excellent one, at that, for the most part. Though I am verging close to an eyestrain headache after spending too much time playing Pokemon. I love when I get to take a week off of work and just stay home and relax.

The high point of the week was easily Saturday's gaming session - the Golden Age heroes assembled to unravel a fifty year old murder and a vengeful spirit it engendered. The session, 'How The West Was Wan', also introduced potential recurring menace, Wan Tsung, Chinese crimelord. We also managed three hours of the SolarQuest board game before mounting fatigue demanded we determine a winner by 'who has the most cash on hand'.

The game session had a fair share of amusing table talk as well. Resident mystic, The Assyrian, and resident scientist, Professor Express, clashed in their methodologies somewhat when Professor Express skeptically suggested they might need to find a homeless guy to have on hand in case the spell needed an extra soul. The Police Commissioner also reacted poorly to the Assyrian's request to have the body of the murdered man moved to natural soil to facilitate 'arcane rites', saying he'd just have the body released for the night as long as the hero had it back in the morning, no questions asked.

From there, the homo-erotic jokes spiraled out of control a little - I think Frederic Wertham might be spinning in his grave. Flag-Waver caught one of the other potential victims trying to bolt from his apartment, then when the con man tried to sell Flag-Waver the dead marshal's badge for $10, Flag-Waver offered him the $10 just to stay in the room with him. I think you can guess where the riffing went on that exchange.

The capper, though, was the ever-reliable Eric, playing the Assyrian. Earlier in the session, he had used magic to disguise himself, so he wouldn't look like a superhero, so he could sneak around. Later in the session, he wanted to clarify that he was assuming that guise again, but what he actually said was :

"I'm still glamoured to look like a guy."

Which busted us all up.

The team also officially started their trophy room, but we still haven't settled on a final name, though I'm going to make some suggestions this week.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Origins 2010, Day 4 and 5

The final full day of the convention for me was Saturday. My 9AM event was 'The Clue of Cthulhu' - a riff on the premise of the Clue boardgame, set in the 1920's Lovecraft Mythos. I opted to skip it for a couple of reasons.

I really don't like skipping events, because it wastes money, and could potentially put other folks out - like if the game was cancelled for insufficient players. However, I was exhausted and really wanted the sleep, and I don't care for the Call of Cthulhu system at all. the only thing that had attracted me to the event in the first place was the novel premise. And after Mystery Express, I'd kind of had my itch to sleuth scratched.

So, I slept in, had lunch, went back by the exhibit hall for more spending. I met up with my cousin Anthony and we walked around, looking at stuff and chatting.

My next scheduled event was at 3PM - 5PM - a miniatures painting class focusing on different mediums. Thanks to Origins scheduling snafus, they didn't think they had anyone signed up for it, but were prepared to run it anyway - except I was the only one who showed, and they needed at least three for a break-even. I hung out with the mini-painting folks for fifteen minutes while waiting for other people to show, but ultimately, no dice. They signed off on my event ticket as cancelled.

Now, normally, Origins does refunds in generic tokens of equivalent value that you can use to get in other events. Because this cancellation was late in the schedule and it was an expensive event ($18), there was no way I was going to be able to use that many generic tokens. I asked for, and was given, a cash refund, which was nice. I then moseyed over to the Auction Hall to check on the Black Lotus.

The Origins auction was poorly attended this year, and there were lots of old games going by with no bids or a single bid. Some old Star Trek board games, even, which I thought would be surefire sellers. So I was already a little concerned. A quick check confirmed my fears - the Collectible Card Game section of the auction had come and gone, and my card had gone for the minimum, drawing only one bid from the Troll and Toad buyer. After paying the auction guys their cut, I got $510 for it, which isn't bad, but I could have sold it direct to T&T for $800.

So, note to self : never participate in the Origins auction again, ever.

That kind of bummed me out, but I picked up the cash - at that point, I was walking around with over $1600 in my wallet, which was bulging amusingly. That cheered me up a little. I did one more round in the exhibit hall, and grabbed dinner in time to make it to my final event of the convention 'Learn to Play D&D', an introductory session for 4th Edition D&D. I own the books, but hadn't yet played the game.

There were two other players - one guy with zero roleplaying experience (who took to the whole thing like a duck to water), another guy with a little, and me. The scenario was a simple one, retrieving some stolen goods from a goblin cave, but it served to demonstrate the changed game fairly well. I can't say my opinion of 4E has changed, though. I don't mind changing the rhythm of the game to focus on the encounters, but it still has an artificial feel to the whole exercise that detracts from the immersion. It's a fine medieval fantasy combat simulator. I was gratified that moderate-experience guy asked me some questions about Pathfinder after the session - that encourages me.

After that, it was back to the room for rest and relaxation. The only thing left was Sunday - checking out and heading home. Now, on rare occasions, I'll spot something earlier in the convention that I refrain from buying, but it grows in my mind like a cancer until on Sunday, I must have it. So I'll make a last minute trip to the exhibit hall to pick things up - and sometimes people run extra good bargains then, to avoid having to ship things home.

I skipped out on all that this year, in favor of sleep. They also run events on Sunday, but with checkout time being noon, it's a little tricky for me to play an event on that last day. I was ready to be home, so I just got things squared away and headed off - to indulge in the final Origins tradition, Massey's Pizza. I also stop on the way out of town, see. And in addition to lunch, I buy a few of their 'partial bake' pizzas - and put them in a cooler, and bring them home to my freezer, to enjoy.

So that's my trip in a nutshell. It was good this year, despite some minor disorganization on the part of the organizers. The increased prize emphasis was nice, it adds some value. It seemed like there was a good crowd at the con, and the exhibit hall was fairly well packed. I ended up buying some things I didn't need, thanks to all that money burning a hole in my pocket, but that's life.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Origins 2010, Day 3

Friday was designed so that I'd have a good spate of free time in the middle of the day to shop, and to sell the remaining Magic cards. I only scheduled two events, in fact.

From 9AM to 1PM, I attended 'Learn to Hack', an introductory session for the latest edition of the Hackmaster game. This is an RPG I own, but have never played. The previous edition of Hackmaster was a parody of the original editions of Dungeons and Dragons - and it was nigh-unplayable with hilarious complexity. Kenzer Co. lost the license to do the parody game, and had to come up with a new product that wasn't dependent on the old D&D rules, and thus, Hackmaster Basic was born.

It's an improvement in terms of playability. And it actually manages to keep the feel of the old-style Dungeons and Dragons games, despite the change in system. They've gone for a less zany feel, though, so a lot of the fun in reading the books that came from the humor is gone. I could actually see myself running this, though, which is a good sign.

From 1PM to 7PM, I prowled the exhibit hall, selling and buying. Also, I managed to fit two meals in there, somehow.

Then at 7PM, it was time for one of my other Origins traditions - the Smithee Awards. It's sort of like an Oscar ceremony, but for bad movies. Hilariously awful clips and a crowd ready to laugh at them. I try to make it to the Smithees every year - it'd been something I'd long wanted to attend at Origins, but it was only five or six years ago that I actually finally made the time to do so - and I have not regretted that.

The Smithees ran till just past Midnight, and then I headed back to the hotel room to peruse some purchases and catch up on things. And as I pondered, I looked at my schedule for the next morning, and decided to skip my 9AM event so I could sleep in.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Origins 2010, Day 2

Thursday is often my big day at Origins, because there's consistently a Thursday morning event that I want to do. See, a while back, I stumbled upon a game using the Hero System entitled 'The JSA vs. Hitler's Bunker'. I actually went up to the convention on Wednesday that year so I could make it to that 8AM Thursday event, and I have not regretted doing the same every year since.

See, this one GameMaster runs a JSA event at every Origins, and it's always at 8AM Thursday. I think 2004 was my first one, and I haven't missed one since. He uses these unique JSA miniatures composed of colored twist-ties - they're amazing.

This year's JSA event was JSA vs. Predator, and I got to play Wildcat. We had fun hunting the hunters, and Wildcat was appropriately durable. Hit with a missile at point-blank range, Wildcat was damaged, but he wasn't stunned, and retaliated with a sock to the jaw. The players voted for me to get the prize for that event as well, largely thanks to how I decided who to help in the final fight. Air Wave and Green Lantern were taking on one predator, and Wonder Woman had just been severely hurt by another. I thought a second, and decided.

"I'll go help Wonder Woman since I debuted in her comic."

They admired my decision methodology.

That was scheduled to run till 2PM, but we actually wrapped up a little early - I had time to run and get lunch, and take the first huge suitcase of Magic cards down to the exhibit hall to sell. Troll and Toad stuck right with their buy list prices, and trusted my counts (I'd made copious notes) so that was finished pretty quickly.

My next event was a demo of the Dragon Storm RPG, from 2PM to 4PM. Dragon Storm is a little different from most RPGs - it doesn't really rely on books. The characters are all based on cards. And the characters are all shapeshifters. So to make a character, you'd select a base character card - a 'Human Werewolf' is one - and that would tell you your base stats, and how many other points worth of cards you can select. The additional cards would include a 'class', an alternate form, and a variety of techniques or skills to fill out the basic character.

The Gamemaster uses cards, too - he has a deck for places, scenes, NPCs, and the like. It's a novel approach, even if I find the setting a little limited. This was my first time trying it, and the demo was well-attended - I think we had 7 or 8 people, and they weren't expecting more than 5. No prize was awarded at that event, but we did all get coupons, and we got to keep our demo character cards.

From 4PM to 6PM, I had a break, so I met up with my cousin Ryan, and we drove out to Tommy's Pizza, another local chain I'd been cajoled to try. The pizza was excellent - not as good as Massey's, of course, but very nice. Getting back into town was kind of a pain, as traffic was backed up, but Ryan got me within a short walk of the convention center in time for my next event.

From 6PM-8PM, I had Mystery Express, a Clue-like board game set on the Orient Express. The game has a kind of fixed forward timeline as the train moves towards Istanbul, and you have to solve the murder's particulars using a number of card-swapping techniques and fine memory to come out on top. I was able to correctly identify all five elements of the crime at the end, and won the prize there, as well!

Three events with prizes so far, and I'd taken them all - and promptly gotten small bags of dice for each of them.

My final event for the evening was scheduled from 8PM to Midnight - Illuminati, the Card Game. I actually own a copy of the game, but had not previously played it. Each player takes on the role of a different secret society, trying to build up a power structure of organizations to take over the world. It's kinda wacky and fun, but also incredibly cutthroat. I got pretty discouraged halfway through, as nobody was letting me get much of anything - you can interfere with one another's battles - but after several cycles, they started having to turn on one another to keep specific players from winning - and then I had the move that'd put me over the top, and the cards to pull it off.

I managed to wrap up the game with a win around 11PM, and though it was supposed to be prize-supported, the GM couldn't find his prize slips - so he got me a substitute. I'd mentioned to him I had the game and the first expansion at home, and he had been talking about the second expansion - so for my prize, he handed me a copy of the second expansion! Perfect.

It had been a long day at that point, so i headed back tot he hotel room to catch up with Andrew and get some rest. Fortunately, my Friday events didn't start until 9AM.