Lonely Games Are (Kinda) Less Fun

I’ve resumed playing Galactic Civilizations II (GalCiv II), which I haven’t played since the olden days when the mornings were light and the afternoons long.

Back in that long, long ago, I played on less-than-normal enemy intelligence and experimented with extending my reach through cultural influence and economic power. I read no manuals. I read no strategy guides. I micromanaged no economy.

Why bother? The enemies were dumber than a box of rocks. Just play like it’s Civ 4, and be done.

Returning to it, I (unsurprisingly) find myself wanting more challenge. I fired up an easy game and did a quick military conquest, my first. Not boring… exactly. But, erm.

Then I realized that despite it being a downloaded game, there’s a manual in the directory. And tutorials (in screencast style) within the game. Add an enticing strategy guide, and I’m really learning to play. I’m, like, messing with taxes and stuff.

Now that I’m actually learning the basics, I want to play against someone! Greg is, of course, my first pick for a lamb to slaughter—I mean, jovial and fun opponent. Then, I’m thinking Devin, a minor deity in the original StarCraft. (Does real-time strategy translate well to turn-based strategy? Actions per minute don’t really matter in turn-based, but the underlying strategies are certainly similar.)

But, but… there’s no multiplayer. Continue reading Lonely Games Are (Kinda) Less Fun

A New Home for Children: A Tri-Stat dX One-Shot

I had two hours to run a one-shot full of people who’ve never held dice outside of a Monopoly game. It started with the possibility of 7 players, but two had conflicts and one decided to just skip out.

For some ungodly reason—when I thought I had 7 players—I picked Tri-Stat dX as the roleplaying system. I started a campaign in it a few years ago, and the flexibility of the system appealed for a high-powered fantasy game, like I was trying to do here.

I wanted to play upon their interests in fashion, fame, and shiny things (and all the players were women), so I crafted a ladies-only party at the innocently-named Bright Eaves Home for Children. There were seven major players on the bad guys’ sides (including the owner of the orphanage) who were helping children disappear, likely through some people-eating or vampiric methods.

The players were hired by Sir Dante Hendrix to investigate the goings-on with the children over the course of the party.

The session starts with the players right inside the door, invitations accepted.
Continue reading A New Home for Children: A Tri-Stat dX One-Shot

Showing Support: Where’s the Money?

I find myself saying things like, “I support the alternative fuel (particularly electric) car movement. I’d love to test drive a Volt, or own a Prius. Some day, when they’re cheaper, I will.” (Or, in a variation: “No way would I pay $35k for a car, but I mos def support the move away from gasoline.”)

But what’s the point of believing I support the direction of the industry (despite its flaws) if I’m not putting money into it to actually support it? It won’t go anywhere if people don’t spend money on the things.

Fer skerious, though, there’s no way I’m spending $35k on a car.

Not sure what the happy medium is.

Continue reading Showing Support: Where’s the Money?

Actually Kinda Clever

Upon reading “The Biggest Stock Scams of All Time” (an ambitious title, perhaps), I decided to update my non-existent knowledge of these scams and failures—including the 2008 business failures.

Holy crap.

I know, I’m so late to the party. I get the housing market failure. As Elf says, it’s not rocket science.

But when Enron occurred (2001), I was a junior in high school, immersed in the IB program, and only cared about grades and college, not about the business/financial world. Reading up on Enron and WorldCom/MCI (who blatantly put expenses on the books as income) was only the start. (MCI was taken down by a little team of auditors working in secret at night who uncovered the $3.8 billion USD in fraud. Seriously.)

Then came Arthur Andersen, the auditing company that participated in the fraud of Enron. They exist online now as a single-page presence, created in Visual Studio 6.0 with no tracking code. They don’t even care who visits. Or about lower-casing their HTML tags.

According to Wikipedia:

From a high of 28,000 employees in the US and 85,000 worldwide, the firm is now down to around 200 based primarily in Chicago. Most of their attention is on handling the lawsuits and presiding over the orderly dissolution of the company.

Continue reading Actually Kinda Clever

Wednesday Weekly Winkage

Not, of course, limited to Wednesdays. Today just happens to be one. …Barely.

I shall open with a video of Nayna, my belly dance instructor, from a couple of months ago:

I’m somewhere off to the left, wishing I’d brought my own camera. This was after class, so I don’t feel bad about watching my instructor dance instead of dancing myself.