Created by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, Geek and Sundry's new biweekly TableTop web series features 30 minutes of tabletop gaming video that shows how much fun it is to pay tabletop games from boardgames like Ticket to Ride to card games like Munchkin to roleplaying games like Fiasco! Each episode, hosted by Wil, shows how each game is played by playing it onscreen. Every episode also has different guests.
Irfan and I saw the first episode together and he totally fell in love with the board game they played, Small World.
Small World allows a player to control a society of one fantasy race after another, allowing your race to expand or decline each round using the game rules. The game randomly mixes in special abilities and racial abilities, and by planning a combination of these abilities you are able to maximise the number of points you acquire each round. At the end of a set number of rounds (which depends on the number of players) the player with the most points win.(Read more at your own risk)
From the Sixty Symbols Introduction page:
Ever been confused by all the letters and squiggles used by scientists?
Hopefully this site will unravel some of those mysteries.
Sixty Symbols is a collection of videos about physics and astronomy presented by experts from The University of Nottingham.
They aren't lessons or lectures - and this site has never tried to be an online reference book.
The films are just fun chats with men and women who love their subject and know a lot about it!
I don't know about you, but I am going to enjoy watching these videos. Click here to view the fascinating and easily-understood scientific talks they have there.
Do you wish to write and be as successful as bestselling authour of titles such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown?
Don't fret, because now you can thanks to Slate.com's The Interactive Dan Brown Plot Generator. All you have to do is to select the city and then the arcane organisation whose devious plot drives the story, and voila! You have an automatically generated plot which can serve as a blurb for your back cover!
I chose "Dallas" for the city, and for the ancient and mysterious organisation I picked the Kiwanis Club:
An ancient puzzle at the heart of Dallas.
A ruthless cult determined to protect it.
A frantic race to uncover the Kiwanis Club's darkest secret.
The Forgotten Mark
When world-famous Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Carousel Club to analyze a mysterious rune—imprinted on a gold ring lying next to the mangled body of the head docent—he discovers evidence of the unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Quintinistas, a secret branch of the Kiwanis Club that has surfaced from the shadows to carry out its legendary vendetta against its mortal enemy, the Vatican.
Langdon's worst fears are confirmed when a messenger from the Quintinistas appears at the Texas Theater to deliver a grim ultimatum: Turn over the archbishop, or one cherub will disappear from the Sistine Chapel every day. With only three days to foil their plot, Langdon joins forces with the statuesque and quick-witted daughter of the murdered docent in a desperate bid to crack the code that will reveal the cult's secret plan.
Embarking on a frantic hunt, Langdon and his companion follow a 800-year-old trail through Dallas's most venerable buildings and historic churches, pursued by a one-eyed assassin the cult has sent to thwart them. What they discover threatens to expose a conspiracy that goes all the way back to Joseph Prance and the very founding of the Kiwanis Club.
That's the plot. Now all I have to do is to write the prose and change Langdon's name. Watch me go to the top of the New York Times bestsellers' list! Woo!
Thanks to the Official Star Wars Blog, I've come across the photo-adventures of a pair of hapless Imperial Stormtroopers on Flickr, TK-479 and TK-455, as they undergo a series of entertaining adventures.
The photos are taken by Stéfan Le Dû, who will release one photo a day for a year.
Some of the scenes are downright hilarious. Here is a selection, with mouseover text of their original titles:
Above: This explains the anonymous messages Luke's been receiving. It got so bad that he had to hurl his phone on the far side of Nirauan.
Above: The Imperial fleet could use a few good carrier pigeons if the HoloNet craps out.
Above: You can't go on vacation without an astromech droid to navigate your camper.
Above: Do you need hats if you're wearing friggin' helmets? You do if you want to get the chicks on the beach.(Read more at your own risk)
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city...
KUALA LUMPUR — Amid an excited Malaysian public, Proton today launched the first of three variants of its latest model, the MPV Exora.
The ‘C’ variant (for Cheap) comes without the frills traditionally included by car companies, like engine, transmission, seats, doors, windows and steering wheel. (The other two variants, “Premium” and “Standard”, will be launched next month)
Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abdin Tahir said that the MPV was designed for families which were conscious about doing things economically. “While the other two variants, with the usual package that includes items some see as ‘basic’ would be sold at around RM80,000, the ‘C’ variant is sold at below RM5,000.
For more news like that visit Nose4news, a clever Malaysian news parody website. "Abominable Snowman seeks name change"? "Loss of Life main cause of death among males, females"? "Crime industry announces 400,000 job vacancies"? It's the Onion website, but with a local flavour.
Every year since season 4 of Smallville, I used to check out the first few episodes to see if it grabbed me. But the novelty was gone, and even the inclusion of Kara Zor-El in season 7 wasn't enough to sustain my attention.
Season 8 however is a whole new ball game. I've not missed a single episode.
Inclusion of new character Davis Bloom that eventually turns out to be Doomsday - which reads terribly as a concept on paper, but is pulled off adequately. A new job at the Daily Planet and a burgeoning romance with Lois - including humorous lively banter instead of the unbearable melodrama with Lana. More DC Comics characters as guest stars like Plastique and Maxima.
And after the mid-season break, for the first time ever: the live action appearance of none other than the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, flight rings and all:
... with apparently Persuader of the Fatal Five in tow, complete with his signature weapon the Atomic Axe.
Is this young Remy LeBeau, the Ragin' Cajun?
(Read more at your own risk)
...."No bloody -A, -B, -C or -D."
Paramount has been releasing a number of images from the new Star Trek movie, directed by J.J. Abrams the past 24 hours or so. The shooting of the movie has been kept top secret that production photos from it has been scant. This new batch of pictures have now circulated to half a dozen different sites on my RSS watchlist and forums. The first I read of it was here, at AICN.
Here are two photos from the deluge:
Above: "I have a hunger, Jim. I want what's inside your brain." Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
Above: "Jim, I'm a doctor... not a Rohirrim. And why do I smell weed coming from Sulu?"
I'm not much of a Trekkie since Deep Space Nice ended, but my interest is piqued because the movie will be directed by J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost and Fringe - the former currently one of my favourite TV series. At the very least, we'll get an awesome Michael Giacchino score.
I have been GMing some very simple scenarios with Irfan. Mostly it's been dungeon crawls through caves with traps and obstacles, trying to find his way out. Today I read this article from Geekdad written by Daniel Donaho, which has some ideas in how to make things more interesting when playing with children.
Here's an excerpt:
The Early Years (4 – 7 years)
Is four-years-old too young to play an RPG? Not if you have a couple of older children (say 6 or 7) play with. Of course, if you want children to abide by all the rules exactly and have a detailed knowledge of movement and encumbrance rates and initiative then you are setting yourself and the kids up for failure and a pretty uninspiring time.
The focus at this age should be on the “role-playing”, rather than “roll-playing”.
You need a game that will take anywhere from 20 – 60 min. It should have a clear and simple narrative. Young children really grasp the idea of a linear story and strong characters. So, rescuing someone or something, or climbing to the top of a mountain. These things make sense and are interesting goals for young children (as long as you throw a few encounters along the way). This age group also responds well to using miniatures. They find it easier to role-play characters they can see. Though, they can do it with paper and pencils around a table, but they prefer to have a representation of their character.
For this reason, sometimes it is good to get them to draw their character. Also, no matter what the game as them to choose three words to describe their character and explain they have to act like their character. Sometimes you get words like “red”, but to see a child role-play “red” can be a very comical experience.
Like I said, be flexible around the rules. That said, it is amazing how quickly children this age picked up on the idea that rolling the dice was crucial to an outcome. So they’d say, “I attack him, where are the dice?” without drawing breath. Only in the beginning will they need to be reminded to roll. They pick it up quickly. Now, surely developing an appreciation for the dice is a fine achievement and a valuable lesson for any future role-players.
Keys to RPGing with 4 – 7 year-olds
- The story - Focus on a clear linear narrative
- The characters – Great to have miniatures, or pictures of characters
- The Rules – Keep them simple, don’t worry about them too much. But, introduce the concept of rolling the dice helps to produce an outcome (either positive or negative)
With regards to the final line of the quote above, my rules with Irfan are pretty simple. Roll 2d6 to beat the target number. An easy task is 4, moderate 5 and difficult 6. He enjoys it enough to draw out the maps of the cave in advance, then call me in to GM him. I can't wait for him to start playing Star Wars or GURPS or investigating the latest shenanigans of Nyarlathotep.
PVP Online's latest comic regales us with a description of one of the greatest ideas for an RPG campaign.
Click on the thumbnail to the right to read the entire strip, and to see what I'm talking about.
I believe I'd very much like to play Jesse Mach of Street Hawk in that campaign.
Anyone else willing to be Stringfellow Hawke, B.J McKay, Sheriff Lobo and Colt Seavers travelling the country to thwart the evil plans of an evil Mr. Belvedere? We'd have the Street Hawk, Airwolf and Sheriff Lobo's police cruiser poisitioned inside B.J. McKay's 18-wheeler, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice, like The Highwayman series.
We'll be fighting wave after wave of Melmackian troops led by Gordon "ALF" Shumway, under the direct command of Mr. Belvedere's lieutenant Arnold of Diff'rent Strokes.
"Whatchoo talkin' about, ALF?"
You know you want to play this.
So as not to get too short a word in the anagram like "a" or "an" and have too many results returned, I set the maximum number of words to be 2 and the minimum number of letter in each word to be 3.
For my own name I entered "Khairul Hisham" because I get zero results from my full name and I entered Ain's full name without the " binti".(Read more at your own risk)
I've been had by trailers before, so there's still a chance that the actual movie might still suck.
But still I'm an optimist. When I first saw the trailer in High-definition Quicktime, I knew I had to make a comparison of the shots in the trailer and panels in the actual Watchmen comics. Then I thought, why not do it here in this weblog.
Enough gab. Enjoy the images, starting with Mister Blake here:
(Read more at your own risk)