Archive for the ‘online garbage’ category

Friday, September 30, 2011-End of the Month Podcast Review: The Grumpy Celt Speaks

September 30, 2011

The Grumpy Celt Speaks is a podcast that suffers from too much gimmick.  It is formatted by a single announcer, who interacts with two other characters which are also voiced by him.  The first character is Ren from Ren and Stimpy and the second character is a Monty Python housewife (a man doing a high woman’s voice.) Additionally, he has a convoluted background and set-up for the podcast that combines Stephen King and Steve Jackson.  Ironically, his character being a celt has a thick western drawl.

The purpose of the podcast is to review games and supplements, which it does within 25 minutes.  Unfortunately, they are all stuff that has been sitting on his shelf for 20 years.  The nostalgia aspect is quite entertaining as he reviews various modules that I bought when I was in Jr. High; but he does not really provide any acumen other than some background information.  Additionally, he has some hang-ups when evaluating games; too many dice is an issue for him, nit-picking art, and he has too much focus on typesetting.  His earlier podcast had more range and topics.  The podcast for black history month was very good and insightful. 

Because of these reasons, I am not adding the website to my “favorites.” I will wait a few months and revisit the sight and see what he has reviewed; after all, there are not a lot of RPG podcast that directly reviews materials.  Overall, this is a podcast that I can wait until later to listen too.



Monday June 6, 2011-A new excitement for “Blue Man Group”

June 6, 2011

Okay, so I joined this gaming network called Near By Gamers, at  Absolutely nothing happen.  Nothing on the website, no messages, nothing at all, and it lasted for weeks.  There was a map, but it was a small Google map of my hometown.  I guess the site wanted to tell me where I lived, as if I didn’t know.  There was a search function, which sort of worked, telling me about groups that were fairly far away.  The forums were spotty.  This all really pissed me off.  Not just because I was not getting me connected with other gamers, but also it was not giving me something to write about. 

Yesterday, I saw a little blue person on the map that represented me, YES ME.   I zoomed out and there were more little men all over the map.  I was so excited!  Until I realized the only other gamer in my town called himself “Jesusfreak.”   Well, I guess people cannot be that excited about finding my name, Phlophouse.  Maybe he is being as ironic as me?  Could this guy be the biggest atheist in the Chicago land area?  Maybe?

Now that there seems to be some type of activity, I have to figure out if it is useful activity.  The problem with these groups are “lurkers.” Lurkers are people who join on an impulse, then do not do anything, chances are they never even visit the site again; but that would hurt our egos too much so we want to believe that they are just watching.  Sort of like my blog.  I need to know if all these little blue people are really people who are active-okay not ALL, just the ones around my area.

Hummmm.  How to do that?  I guess I will send out an email and see who bites.


Friday, June 3 2011-Better late than never Podcast review.

June 3, 2011

This month’s podcast review is “The Walking Eye.”  This is one of my favorite podcasts and I only listen to 75% of the shows!!!  Take an eager group of twenty somethings who try and take podcasting serious, add a dash of “willing to try anything” and you will have The Walking Eye.  This podcast does it all; actual play recordings, game reviews, interviews, topics, and discussion on comics.  Okay, I don’t listen to the comic casts which they have once a month, hence the 75%.

This podcast focuses on indie RPGs, I have yet to hear anything about 4th Edition D&D or Savage Worlds.  They are all about the role-play and story.  So, if you are looking for analytical break downs of character classes, this is not for you.  However, if you want some analytical break down of a game system, opinions on flow of play, and hear actual examples, then this is a podcast for you.

The best thing I have to say about this podcast: Use the archives and you will get a good understanding of the whole indie RPG industry.

The worst thing I have to say about this podcast: It’s a long time between shows when you skip the comic cast.

May 6, 2011- Twelve Hours later

May 7, 2011

I guess I am leaving a gaming group.

But I had fun in those twelve hours.  My only regret is that I spent $55 for Pathfinder; maybe I will return it and get my money back.  I have D&D 3.5 so why buy the same book twice.

Having gamed for over 20 years, I have seen plenty of good games go bad and good games go great.  One great aspect of online social networks is that you can get a good feel of the groups based on post and messaging.  That does save on footwork.  It took only 12 hours of online interaction to see that this upcoming gaming group was going to have some problems and I never had to talk face to face to anyone. 

This last gaming group has four things working against it.

1)      The GM was in love and married with his own world.  This is a good thing, unless he is so married to it that he makes judgments about “what fits his vision.”   If you require players to meet certain aspects within their character concepts and they do, you shouldn’t tell them “no, that does not work in what my world is about.”  Especially when combined with the next issue.

2)      If you have background write ups & player aids of the world, keep it consistent and specific.  Don’t say the world is like “this” and then have rules preventing “this.”   Don’t say “rarely” if you mean “not available.” 

3)      One bad player.  I am always amazed how people simply don’t see what their comments and actions reveal.  There was one player, who had several red flags, just from his post and character concept that pointed to “manipulator” and conveniently started coe-GMimg me.  This guy has never met the GM or the group and yet he felt comfortable enough to tell me how to run my character before I even started writing it up.

4)      Favoritism.  Don’t favor one player over another, if you are going to have a character creation session for the players; then do not let another player make their character at home before the game session.  Especially if you never played with the guy or he is acting like a manipulator. 

Obviously, this manipulating bad player has already jumped into the game and sucked up to a GM who puts his story/world on the highest pedestal.  The GM has already granted him exceptions from other players.  All before we even start gaming, how will the actual play go? 


April 27, 2011-I promise on Wednesday

April 27, 2011

Two weeks ago I promised boccobsblog that, on Wednesday, I would talk about the various online sites I tried using to find a group of players.  I didn’t say which Wednesday.  Additionally, I want to clearly state that I am not a computer guy or online savvy.  It took me a few weeks to figure out that podcast were a good thing, before that I would visit radio stations’ webpages and listen to my favorite programs.  So these observations are really from a newbie point of view. –“the Everquest of Social Media”

This network is set up for people to find events and groups of like-minded people, and it does this wonderfully.  You can join for free and search for groups within your area that are doing things that you want to do.  Each group has their own webpage with message boards and email alerts.  However, to start an actual group cost about $10.00 a month.

I have been using Meetup for a few years and have gone to…three events.  So, does it work?  Hummm…not for me.  There are thousands of groups and members, but I think a lot of them are like me.  Four years ago, I was on my third day of being bored at home and knew the upcoming weekend had the more of the same.  I went on the computer and joined Meetup to see if anything was going on.  Since then, three out of four weeks I just automatically delete their “weekly event notice.”  Once a month I look at the notice before deleting it.  That is problem with Meetup, it looks like a network which would entice people to join groups, but it is not.  That would involve an advertising campaign or Marketing strategy beyond a weekly email.  There are a lot of people on Meetup, but the question is how active are they on Meetup.   I have had two people join my Apocalypse World Meetup group; they joined and have never done anything since then-one of them lives in a different state.   Really? You are going to drive two hours to play an RPG on a weekday?  Reminds me of getting friends request from people who have just discovered Facebook.

Meetup works well if you already have an amateur organization with a core group of people who are active and have that manager attitude.  You can use Meetup to expand your recruitment and add another layer to your organization; however, you already need to be established.    

4/18/2011-The intro is purplely

April 18, 2011

There is talk across the internet of the secret truths hiding in the dark shadows of the gaming industry.  The actual facts are purposely hidden and obscured by those involved to keep us uninformed.  Although they directly conceal many details, they cannot control indirect trends.  They may blind us, but we can still smell.  Currently what wafts across the breeze and raises the inquisitive brow upon hitting the attentive nose is; Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG could have a bigger slice of the market than Hasbro’s 4th Edition D&D over the last year.  The irony of this possibility is that Pathfinder, through legal maneuverings, is the very same 3rd Edition D&D that was produced by Hasbro.  Many curious consumers now smugly thumb their noses at Hasbro with an unsaid “told you so.”  Because, the consumer base for D&D felt completely taken advantage of by the transition from 3rd to 4th edition and now they can legitimately say that Hasbro should not have change.

I disagree. 

D&D was and still is the industry leader of RPGs.  Should Paizo’s Pathfinder slay the Goliath brand of D&D then they themselves will be forced to make the all too similar choices that Hasbro has.  The RPG market is small and there is only room for one industry leader.  There is plenty of room for innovated companies within the market, but they are sailing inside the wake.  These companies work within the established market and their gains are indirectly gathered by the actions of the leader.  Quite simply put, nearly everyone started RPGs by playing D&D.  D&D is the Kevin Bacon of RPGs; you cannot within a group get farther than three degrees away from D&D.  Can Paizo, by catering to consumer base with an older system, be a real industry leader?

What is the authentic duty of an industry leader of a small market?

An Industry Leader by definition has the following; Brand Recognition, Regulatory Advantages, First Mover Advantage, and Dominance-all things which D&D has capitalized on by Hasbro.  But why? To meet the one authentic duty of an industry leader of a small market: expand the market.   What other company within the market can? Think about it, how many fans of the Dresden Files or Mouse Guard, who never played a RPG, just happen to buy the RPG because they were fans of the setting, but had so much fun playing it they bought Fiasco, D&D, Paranoia, Mage, or any other RPG?  Nope nearly impossibility.  Hasbro can try to take back consumers who have left the brand, but that would be difficult.  It is easier for Hasbro to bring in new consumers and they are the only ones to have the resources to so.  The D&D miniatures game and their board games are examples of their attempt at doing this.

So, I think D&D is still going to be flagship for RPGs, even if Pathfinder has more of the market.  I would only speculate doom for D&D if Paizo starts producing game that expands the RPG market.  Then the real battle will begin.  Because trying to expand the market and doing it well are two different matters; I am not saying that Hasbro has successfully expanded the market at all.  They have done it, but not well and that is a whole other topic.