My own personal rant zone

I set up this place so I can mostly talk about Tabletop Gaming...but occasionally some other stuff too...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

One of the bravest men I have ever heard of...

I have pretty much followed the Kim's Family story every day. I used to watch James when he was on TechTV a few years ago. He reviewed digital cameras at the time, and more often than not, his wife and child (at the time) were the subject of many of his test shots. Oddly, we got to watch his family grow through his review...I think that’s one of the reasons the online community grasped this story so firmly between it’s teeth.

That aside, there is just something I can’t get out of my head. His last few minutes with his wife and children. From close accounts, the whole time they were stranded, he pretended with his older girl that they were just camping. But that must have all ended when he said his final good-byes. Having two kids, I simply cannot imagine knowing what it must feel like to say good-bye like that. I am not fond of the term hero, because as a people we have just blown the meaning of that word…but what I do think is that James Kim was one of the bravest people I could imagine. Maybe I could have walked a couple of miles in the snow…but I could NOT have left my family. I am not that brave. It was that act of bravery that saved the family. A local pilot found them on a hunch tracking them by his foot prints. It was his bravery that gave them the chance they needed. In his place, my family might not have made it. there is a donations button here. I had just happened to sell of an old iSight I had…It seemed like a fitting thing to do with the money. Maybe if all of us tech nerds unloaded one un-needed tech goodie on ebay, we could help the family pay for the rescue efforts, and a fund for the family in general.

Take care James, you did good...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

So, What's wrong with me...

So I am at a weird space with my gaming. I think I have mentioned some aspects of it both here and on the podcasts I do, so if you care to join me on this journey, right on. Maybe brainstorming with myself will help figure it out...if not it will at least give me my first blog entry in ages.

So, here goes. If i had to list the games I have in my collection I really care about, let's give it a shot:

Dogs in the Vineyard
Mutants and Masterminds
and pretty much whatever is new and shiny, cause that's really another huge personality flaw of mine.

Flames of War
Infinity: The Game

Federation Commander
Too many to name that I would at least like to try.

Here is where I really run into trouble - Casual Games:
Pirates of the Spanish Main
And others.

So, as I have mentioned int he past, I have little free time to play games. I generally have time to paint or play, but if I do both, they both suffer. At times that's fairly frustrating and will cause to to focus on one or the other...neglecting one. Which then is frustrating in another fashion.

How did all this really come up? It was this morning, when I was given the chance to play Vincent Baker's Mechaton. I was really resistant. I am almost certain it had a lot to do with feeling like I _should_ be playing one of the other games on my ever growing list, rather than adding another one to it. Is it because I am feeling overwhelmed? Guilty for basically sucking at many of the games I play because I play so many? Then I find myself not playing anything because I am in a massive rut.

I am wondering if I should just abandon a portion of the hobby. I just don't know which it would be. Maybe I should whittle down my games...but which ones? Maybe Pirates? Maybe Dreamblade? Maybe I should shoot WoW in the foot before I really get started? Is that really the answer? Many, many few answers.

And maybe that's why I reacted the way I did to the Mechaton game today. I wasn't willing to even open up to it, which is so not fair either to my friend Chris who was excited about it...or to Vincent Baker for writing something novel and creative. I walked into it not wanting to like it, because ultimately I knew it would just be something else to add to the shelf, never to be played again. So I dismissed it even during the demo. Sorry, Chris.

Now is the time in Sprokets where we dance. I suppose I need to go and sit and figure this out. I gotta do _something_

Anyway, wish me luck, I really think I need it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

So, we had a party...

Sometimes planning pays off. It really does. I think the 5th Anniversary party we threw for the store this past Saturday was the best event we have had yet. It was easily one of the most well attended (say 450 people through the doors that day), and the single best sales day in our history. Whew.

I am pretty sure I, and the rest of the staff worked on the planning of the party for at least two months prior. It was the coordination of so many schedules that ended up by being the most work, and it's times like this party that I thank my lucky stars I was a professional project manger type person for a while. I haven't really done that much coordination in a few years, and I forgot how much I enjoy the challenge. It's even more rewarding when it's for "you" as they say. I pulled some pretty cool things off in my Web/Marketing career, but this was way more satisfying. So, what did we do...

It all started on Friday, when I picked Chris Pramas of Green Ronin at the Airport that morning. (He has a great account of this on his blog, and is a much better writer than I am, go figure.) The poor guy had already been up for hours, but refused a break, and we dived right into some Classic BattleTech. (one of these days I will post a rant about why I simply can't ever lose the bad taste in my mouth when I use it's full name...but that's another story.) For someone who hadn't played in 15 years, he did a darn fine job. We rolled with some old school 3025 mechs (still my personal favorite era to play in), and played until we ran out of time. There was some Death From Above, and some falling I sure had fun. My good friend Brian, met us at my place..we jumped in the Hybrid, and made our way up to Napa.

Now, if you have been following the game industry as long as I have (I mean, seriously...I have been Waldorfing on it since as long as I can remember), you have to understand just how fun this ride was. Chris P is full of some awesome stories. Answered questions to things I have been wondering for years. It was spectacular. But I digress....

So we made our way up to Yountville in pretty darn short order for a Friday afternoon. This gave us plenty of time to relax, do some wine tasting...and get in the proper mindset for an evening at one of Thomas Keller's fine eateries. As some of you may have seen in previous blog entries, y'all know I completed cooking school in March of 2004. Going to Bouchon is pretty much like reading a menu out of school. It's one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. I adore tradtional french at times, and get a little tired of fusion and all that other bidness. Bouchon delievers in that department. Along with making me feel homesick for my chef's whites...the service is impeccable. I don't think I want to bore you with details on the meal, but let's just say it was quite good. Bouchon is a littler easier to get into than The French Laundry. If you know you are heading to Napa at any point, make reservations...Lunch is just as good as dinner.

Skipping ahead to Saturday, man, oh man..we hit the ground running. After we opened the doors at 9am, The demos really started rocking at about 11am, and the game room was packed the whole time after that. The sales floor stayed equally busy the whole time. As the day progressed, and the demos went on, something really started to hit me. I think I forget sometimes how we have crafted something people really care about. I manage to forget how many friendships have formed around what really is just a retail store...but kinda not. I know we make money off our business, and if we didn't we would close (duh, right?), but when people come out to just say thanks, and congratulate all really comes home for me. Maybe more-so at this party than any of the others.

Now that we are 5, the store has had a chance to mature. We have watched a few of the kids grow up. We have seen our community mature as well. And, for me...that's what this whole thing is about. Community. EndGame isn't just a store anymore, it's a community of people with like interests, tastes, mindsets, and passions. It's become almost a thing bigger than the store itself, at this point. And, aside from my's the thing I am most proud to have been involved in.

We have made a difference in these few years. Not only have we helped support a community, we have helped it grow. One of my goals in joining EndGame was to do whatever I could to get new people into a hobby I hold very dear...and this party made me realize we are doing it. Everyday. And that, is just wonderful. I dunno how long I will do this. I really don't. But, in some ways, I dunno what else I could do that would mean more to me...if that makes sense.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One more fact that the terrorists are winning...

I own a game store, and was working behind the counter all day yesterday...not one person mentioned Talk like a pirate day.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Well, I'm back...mostly...

The store just did Conquest SF, and it was quite the time. I worked my butt off, but the store did way above what we did last year at the same it was worth it. I _think_ overall attendence at the show was up. It attracted some cool Indutry type folks: Ken Hite who I finally got to meet. James Ernest who was doing seminars, and seems to a be a minis gamer (which I didn't know), Keith Baker who seemed quite cool, and finally Dave Arneson. That was pretty damn cool. I don't tend to be the fanboy type, but to see someone who has had a defining impact on your life, is pretty neat.

I am pretty beat. I think that's an understatement. The back issues I have been dealing with for a while make these cons a lot harder on me, and I find that they take even longer to recover from. I actually got some gaming in on Saturday night, with a game of Dogs in the Vineyard. I taped the session for play over at 2d6feet, and I hope even some of it was useable. It really want people to get a sense of the character generation system. I really think that's where the game shines.

Anywho, hope y'all had a good Labor Day. I labored, but it was fun seeing people, and I think we really helped make the con a little better for everyone, which really makes me happy.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Onto Total War...

Ok, so this is a post I wrote, and ripped it off from the CBT fourms. Sorry, I get lazy:

First and foremost I wanted to thank the folks at the FanPro booth to take a moment when it was super busy to say hi, and make me feel really welcome. I also was totally floored being invited into their "Author's Game" on Saturday night. If it hadn't been midnight, the fact I am old, and that I had to get up early to check out of my hotel, I would have dived in no holds bared. So, thanks again made the trip to Indy worth it.

So, the book. I am gonna say here and now, I haven't read the whole thing. I am also not terribly interested in how the minutia has changed, or what have you, so I'll leave that for someone else to cover. I am more going to tell you guys how I plan on selling it to my customers. Those of you who evangelize the game to or for your local retailers might find some usefulness out of this. Feel free to ignore me, I am long winded Wink

Ok. This book is really nice looking. It has dropped BT firmly into modern times, with modern print quality. I am sad that it is going to be in my store late, but I will say here and now" "Screw it, it will be worth it." Y'all know the page count, and the fact that it is hard cover. This book should cost more. (Aw hell, now I opened the flood gates...but whatever). I know printing, and I know printing costs. I cannot imagine FanPro is making much off this book. I would readily recommend you upgrade. It really isn't like buying the BMR, and then the BMR (revised). This is a whole new ball of wax. I would suggest it not only for the rules updates, but for the User Interface of the book itself. The index is deep and really usable. By comparison, the Privateer Press release at the show; Warmachine: Superiority didn't even have an index (and was softcover for only $5 less). Seriously. It's a total overhaul.

The first twenty-ish pages of the book are awesome. This was the part that seriously renewed my faith that FanPro gets the fact they simply cannot continue to cater the hard-core base, but make new players feel welcome as well. These first pages manage to give an incredibly comprehensive view on what BT is, where to find support materials, the basics of the history, and the basics for play. HOORAY! Now _that_ is something I really hoped would pan out for the best, and it has. I know many of these pages were up as PDF previews, but the way they tie into the book is really nicely done.

The "examples of play" illustrations are the best I have seen in a BT product, and totally on par with some of the larger minis games out there. They are crisp, clear, and really make sense. I have been playing BT since 1984, and the "blocking terrain" illo made me truly understand it for the first time. (Stop laughing).

Ok, to sum this long rambling thing up: As a retailer carrying Wahammer 40k, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Confrontation, Flames of War, Infinity: The Game, and Dark Age...I have a tool to get people excited about BT. I still stand firm that at it's core, this is not an Introductory product, but it will do as one until we can get something a little more suited to beginners.

I can't recommend enough pre-ordering through your local shop. Even if they don't carry the game, showing it to the owner might be enough to get them to carry one for the shelf. I throw a lot of props out to FanPro for bringing BT into the next generation. They did a really good job on this book.

Holy crap, I am tired...

I have a ton to say about Gencon. But this is one of the most awesome things I have read about it yet. From the comments section of Mike Mearls' blog:

"Both Agon and Burning Empires were held up at work today as examples of the cool RPG stuff at GenCon. The Forge booth was (accurately) identified as, 'This is the place to look for cool new games.'"

I dunno if you all can grasp how excited I am that the folks at WoTC are paying attention to the games coming out of the Forge community. I know people are sick of D&D 4e rumor mongering. I kinda am too. But what I will say, is this. Mike Sugarbaker and I were talking about what WE would like to see whenever that new edition hits. I came to the conclusion that I would like to see 3.5 stay in print. Let it be the crunchy rules heavy game it currently is. Sales indicate people like it, the RPGA runs it, D&D minis has an engine derived out of it. Honestly, it's all good. Just keep selling it.

Then, for the rest of us, make 4th ed. a rules lighter story driven game. You can even call it something else, a sub-brand of D&D...I don't care. But lets use the marketing power and money of Hasbro to give us a product that we can use to bring even more people into the hobby.

I am clear...I am not making sense. That's why I have been waiting to post on Gencon, so that I am not so wiped out. But HooRAY! Seriously.

More later, including my first impressions on FanPro's Total War, and the hope I have stemming from it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I made it to White Castle...

and I didn't even need to ride a cheetah.