Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Adsense?

Recently I've added AdSense to my blog, which was something that I took some time to decide on as I have to admit a bit of reluctance to add more advertising onto the web and to help Google make even more money. I'd already implemented Google Analytics to be able to view how many (more accurately how few) visitors my website recieves.Due to the rather parlous state of my current finances I've not really been able to afford to buy much gaming stuff at the moment and that is why I did take the opportunity to see if I could make a little extra to help fund my gaming and reviewing.

Its been interesting using analytics to see where I get my visitors from, and I have been able to see the impact of when I have posted on a forum that I use about my blog content. I think to try and help make the blog useful I'll continue with the projects of creating characters for all the RPG I own, reviewing gaming prodcasts and include supplementary material for the reviews I write for RPG.net and EnWorld.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Podcast review: Dial P for Pulp

Podcast Review: B Dial P for Pulp

Dial P for Pulp is a podcast dedicated to the pulp fiction magazines of the 1920s and 30s. This can cover a wide range with Robert E. Howard's stories including westerns and horror as well as his better known fantasy stories. Other typical topics would be Doc Savage and H.P.Lovecraft. This review was tricky to classify for me as I wan't sure to treat it as a gaming podcast review or a general one like FNH's Chtulhu podcast. This is because though there is content that would be useful for gamers in both podcasts neither is primarily aimed at gamers.

Dial P for Pulp is fairly new with it only having reached 6 episodes in March 2008 having started in September 2007, so it seems to be keeping to its monthly target.

The content is varied with it including readings of stories and poems, most of which are from the pulp magazines, for example the first three episodes include a reading of Robert E Howard's Solomon Kane story "Red ". There has started to be a fair amount of gaming content included with episode 6 having a round up of available games rules including Irregular Miniatures' Tusk, and Rattrap productions .45 Adventures and Fantastic Worlds. I still don't put this in with my gaming podcast review though.

Generally I've found the technical quality to be good with clear audio and nothing too messy from the editing. So the blog is certainly up to the standards of most other blogs.

I like this blog a lot and recommend it. It has content for fans of pulp fiction, comics and gamers so it covers a broad spectrum and comes in at a decent length of usually around 1 hour.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gaming Podcast Review 8 Pulp Gamer

Gaming podcast review 8 Pulp Gamer

Pulp Gamer is a pretty long established gaming podcast with five main substreams (Inside Track, Out of Character, Family Night, Kings Court and the Game Kennel) with additional shows on other topics. There is a lot of different content here and different types of content. There are three regular hosts: Derek Rex, Jeremiah Lynch and Don Dehm, I think that there is a really good interplay between the hosts which makes the show easy to listen to and entertaining. From my listening to date I'm starting to think that 2-3 hosts is the ideal number for a podcast lasting in the 45-120 minutes range.

The different regular podcasts can be classifed like this:

  • Inside Track - Interviews with gaming industry insiders
  • Out of Character - gaming and community news
  • Family Night - Family gaming ideas
  • Game Kennel - Discussion of and reviews of board and card games
  • Kings Court - Games reviews

My favorite tends to be inside track because I like to hear the opinions of the various people within the gaming community, with the episodes of Inside Track that I've listened to including Dave Arneson, Steve Jackson (SJG), Wolfgang Bauer and Joseph Goodman.
Out of character is interesting, but as I also get community news from other sites is probably less essential to me and I like games reviews and shows about choosing games so most of the other regular features get a thumbs up from me too.
There are occasional special shows like the recording of Wil Wheaton at Comicon, and Seminars on podcasting from GenCon and on various topics from the GAMA show seminars.

I've found these shows to be clearly recorded and easy to listen to from a technical point of view.

Pulp Gamer is a podcast that I do listen to regularly. I like the interplay between the hosts and the variety of content, though my listening is heavily biased towards Inside Track as I do like the hear the interviews with industry notables and tend to get a lot of my gaming news through other sites. I recommend this one highly to potential listeners as there is probably some content out there that you will find useful or enjoyable.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coming up this month

There will be a distinct pulp theme to my next few podcast reviews with Pulp Gamer and Dial P for Pulp coming up, followed by my looking for more miniatures wargames based podcasts to review.

If anybody has any particular podcast they want me to review please leave a comment with the details. Thanks

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Solo Boardgames #1 Ambush

A recent forum thread at RPG.net and the revival of the Solo Wargaming Show has made me think about the Boardgames that I have for solo play. These are not all exclusively solo games by design, but some multiplayer games are easily adapted or have solo scenarios or rules included.

To start with ones that I own and are designed for solo play:

Ambush is a very good solo game that I've owned since it came out. The play method with the actions of the Germans coming from a set of numbered paragraphs in a book is similar in some ways to the choose your own adventure games like Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but less linear due to the fact that there are far more possible locations for the American squad on the map and it is a squad rather than an individual.

I've not played this for a good while, but I do intend to some time this year and I'll post a review when I do. I remember that it does play very well with a roleplaying element from the US squad being the same named individuals (allowing for casualties) through the scenarios and they are able to improve with experience.

The programmed elements are a lot less predictable than it might be thought, though I would not want to play the same scenario two or three times in a short timescale as it would tend to make things a bit 'samey'. I remember that there is one trap in the numbered paragraphs from having read through idly after playing through all the scenarios back in the 1980s and that is the one with the Dragon in it. This does not actually turn up in play though.

This is recommended to any solo gamer out there who wants a squad level WWII infantry game, I think it is pretty readily available via ebay and second hand games stores.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Updates on podcasts reviewed

With the podcasts I've reviewed to date, some have continued to have regular updates.

Meeples & Miniatures has had several new episodes including the long awaited Polemos Napoleonic rules review. This was a very useful review and I'm glad its there now. My M&M review

Yog-Radio has finally had a main show update, with number 28 now available including a lot of Cthulhutech content and all three regular presenters. Of course it still isn't really that long since I started the podcast reviews with this show

Horror on the Orient Express audio game has had a number of episodes and I'm still quite behind on this, but catching up as fast as I can. Original review here

The Solo Wargaming Show is back at a new site and has a new episode which I haven't listened to yet. Original review was here

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Podcast review: Cthulhu


The Cthulhu podcast is not necessarily a gaming podcast in the way that the others I have covered to date have been, but it does cover a lot of interest to RPG players, especially in Lovecraftian games.

The usual episode format is a factual item about the pre WWII 20th Century, a piece of music, usually from the 1920s or so and a story. The stories can be either readings of H.P. Lovecraft stories or from other authors, but are pretty universally tied into the Cthulhu mythos. There are also occasional poems read. The main presenter is FNH, but there are often other readers for the poems or stories and I like the variety of voices this gives. With the episodes I've listened to there have been factual items on the Scopes' Monkey Trial and Earnest Shackeleton's expedition to the South Pole.

Technically I've found the recording to be clear and understandable and had no problem with downloads direct from the site or via iTunes.

I think this is a podcast I will listen to regularly now as it comes in at a nice 30 minute or so length and has a nice mix of content.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

All the RPG I've played

Thinking back about RPG I've played a lot over the years with different types of games and systems and of course lists are, as many journalists know, a quick and easy way to fill up space.

I've never bought anywhere near as many as I've played though as my older brother has been a more serious gamer than me for much of the time, so has tended to buy interesting games before I've thought of it.

Anyway into an endless set of lists ;)

  1. Original Dungeons & Dragons - where I started the original version of D&D in the white box. This is still a game I have a great deal of affection for, but it definitely is more of a kit to create a RPG rather than a complete game as such.
  2. Traveller - classic version, one of the earliest games I played and I did like it even if the death of characters in chargen and lack of advancement once in game did grate at times.
  3. Metamorphosis Alpha - one of the first games I bought and fun in its randomness, but it was never a great game for long term campaigns due to lack of advancement rules.
  4. Bunnies & Burrows - very innovative for its time, but a hard sell with my players so we didn't play that much when we could be dungeon crawling instead.
  5. Runequest II - the first really great rpg that I played in my opinion. The combination of the Gloranthan setting and the quality of the rules was a relevation and I still want to play this game.
  6. Superhero '44 - a historical oddity this, the first Superheroes RPG released and a bit clunky rules wise. The Whirlwind (my character) was used a few times, but we were playing lots of other stuff too so there weren't that many games with this system.
  7. AD&D - Did get it, but I always preferred the lighter rules touch of OD&D or BD&D.
  8. B/C/X D&D - I preferred this to AD&D and this was system of choice for a little while until RQII took over.
  9. Call of Cthulhu - as I had already read Lovecraft and played RQII this game had a very short learning curve for me and I have enjoyed playing it over the years.
  10. Toon - humour in RPG? Yes, it can work to have an intentionally humourous game and Toon is pretty well done. Not played it for ages now.
  11. Flash Gordon and the Warriors of Mongo - not really an RPG as such, more of a chase game, at some point I'll dig it out and review it for RPG.net
  12. Warhammer FRP - it took me a long time to really get interested in Warhammer, either in the Fantasy Battle game or the RPG. Now I'm thoroughly sold on it and looking forward for the chance to play some more WFRP including fact to face as well as pbp and pbem.
  13. Paranoia - I enjoy running Paranoia, but sadly haven't had a chance with XP yet.
  14. Castles & Crusades - these days this is my 'D&D' style game of choice as it gives the right level of crunch and customisabilty that I want from this style of game.
  15. D&D 3.0/3.5 - I actually quite enjoy this as a player, but do feel it puts a lot of work on the GM compared to the earlier editions.
  16. Champions - Can't remember too much about this as I never played much and I was never the biggest supers gamer anyway.
  17. Conan the D20 Conan game is in my opinion a decent game and probably as good a Hyborian age RPG as you can do with the D20 system.
  18. Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen - probably the purest RPG that I've played in some ways and one that often gets played in the pub when we meet up for birthdays. Great fun.
  19. Boot Hill The way we played this was much more like old West deathmatch, but we were young teenagers at the time and D&D was pretty hack and slash the way we played it

Saturday, April 05, 2008

MP3 Player

Well I've finally picked up an MP3 player to listen to podcasts on the move - before I was doing using my computer. So this means podcast reviews to start again in earnest. :)

If anyone has any requests for podcasts to review please put them in as comments to this post.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Warhammer characters

I am tempted to make a shortcut and use the PbP/Pbem characters that I have been using in A Private War campaign with WFRP, though I do actually have a character generated specifically for this exercise. I suspect I'll end up posting all three.

Started to update my links to recognise some more RPG sites like Yog-Sothoth which is an excellent site for HP Lovecraft fans or Call of Cthulhu gamers

Finishing Conan Character generation

Character background for Tut-anh-mekri.

Tut-anh-mekri was born into the Stygian nobility and grew to an impressive stature even as a teenager reaching 6'3" (1.89m) making him hard to mistake. As a Stygian noble he learned much of the arts of war, but was always better with the study of arcane lore. His early aptitude for study and desire to learn the dark arts led to him becoming an acolyte of the Black Ring. His master, Ankh-en-atra soon recognized how exceptional his pupil was, and how dangerous he could become.

Tut stands broad shouldered at 6'3" with his presence physically only overwhelmed by his greater force of personality. His black hair and olive skin are typical of Stygian nobles, but the fire in his brown eyes is startling, His black robes cover his frame and emphasize his physical presence.

He seeks now to learn greater things and move rapidly through the ranks of the Black Ring. He will often try to intimidate rather than fight opponent, but is capable of being dangerous in combat.