Tag Archives: Rocking the boat

The Games Workshop Store

WarhammerI’m a fan of both Warhammer universes; though, I’ve never had the money to play the too-expensive-for-my-tastes wargame, I’ve played most of the video games, I own all three editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and I received as a gift literally all the Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy roleplaying books. So, when I (finally) had a chance to check out the Games Workshop store in Rockford, IL, I jumped at the opportunity.

As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a nice man who ran the store. I wish I could remember his name. (I’m terrible at names. Seriously. I once misspoke my wife’s name when introducing her to a large group of people. It was very embarrassing.) I mentioned my love of all things Warhammer and that I would one day like to play the wargame. He immediately began showing me the starter products and left me alone for a bit to handle other customers.

In the store, various games were going on. I saw a Warhammer 40,000 game going on. I’m pretty sure some Space Marines were battling the forces of Chaos, but I didn’t pay very close attention. I was too busy lusting over Ork army pieces and the new The Hobbit wargame sets (I had just seen the movie and was (still am) very excited about it).

The store employee (Steve? Andrew?), approached me a few minutes later and asked if I wanted a FREE paint lesson that comes with a FREE mini war-figurine. I’m a big fan of free. I picked out a dwarf figure (because dwarves are awesome, and I was still obsessing over The Hobbit), and learned proper painting techniques.

What I got painted of my dwarf looked pretty decent, if I do say so myself.

The employee then played a simplified game of Warhammer 40,000 with me. It was very simplified, but I love rolling dice, so it was fine. The employee asked me if I wanted to buy the set… I did. But, being a guy with two kids and no space to store all the cool stuff, it’s simply too hard to justify the price for plastic figurines (and doesn’t include the paint).

It’s really odd to me that a wargaming store with basically one product can exist. I’m glad it can, and I wish I could support it, but I find it interesting that such a niche store can operate, even if it is VERY small.

Now, let me tell you the horror part of the story.

First, a little background. I’m allergic to a lot of things. And I break out in terrible, itchy hives whenever something sets the old immune system to “crazy.”

After painting the miniature, I broke out in hives.

I’m allergic to the paint.

Meaning, that if I ever wanted to actually start playing Warhammer, I couldn’t paint my own stuff.

And that’s half the fun. I’m allergic to a game. A guy that loves games gets all itchy and bumpy thanks to a game. Ironic terror.

Sad panda.


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New Year’s Eve Musings: Pathfinder Online

PfOIt’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m feeling a little bit melancholy. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m on a “working vacation,” or because I haven’t been sleeping well. Maybe I miss playing Minecraft and Halo 4. Maybe it’s because my baby has for over a week refused to do anything but scream when anyone but me or my wife tries to hold her. Maybe it’s the cloudy weather.

But, something has put a bit of a smile on my face. And it has to do with one of the articles I wrote in June. We Need A Better MMORPG.

A Better Class of MMO – I’ve wanted a sandbox-style MMO for a long time; a massively multiplayer game in which the players actually built things, created kingdoms, and controlled the economy whilst fighting back the hordes of evil monsters that threatened the land sounds like the best thing ever to me.

Enter Pathfinder Online.

Pathfinder Online seems to be the MMO I’ve been waiting for. You can build structures and kingdoms. You can help control the economy. You and your companions can take control of “hexes” within the game area. Within that area you could build watchtowers, inns, and even cities.

It has something for everyone as well. Maybe you just want to get a hammer and bash orcs in the face. If that’s how you want to play, then do it. If you want to instead wage corporate warfare on another player’s corporation, using assassination and undercutting his prices, you can do that to. Maybe you just want to harvest and build things… that’s there for you. I think this encourages players to work together and found thriving virtual cities. Thinking about it makes me really excited.

Really, there is so much from the initial post that is planned to be included in Pathfinder Online that I feel like my mind was completely read. Pathfinder is one of my favorite roleplaying systems, so I know that character options will be pretty balanced, but it’s the addition of all the other stuff that you can do in a tabletop environment that makes me wish this game was out right now.


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Awful Christmas Songs

There are some really awesome Christmas songs.

And then there are the kind that are really, really awful. And since I like focusing on things that suck, here are my least favorite Christmas songs.

1. The Christmas Shoes – New Song

Patton Oswalt has said (NSFW Language) pretty much everything I want to say about The Christmas Shoes. This song is sadistic.

2. Santa Gimme – JRandall

Shirtless dude? Check. Skeezy dude singing skeezy lyrics? Check. This Christmas song makes me infinitely sad.

3. Santa Claus is Comin’ in a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train – The Tractors

The Tractors aren’t the most popular country rock band on Earth, so when it came time to make a Christmas album, what did they do? Took their most popular song and changed the lyrics to be more Christmas-y. This song makes me want to lay my head under the big wheel of a tractor and beg for it to run over my skull and crush my brains out.



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Trilogies: Why the Best Things Come in Threes

JRR Tolkien’s covers for The Lord of the Rings. Fair Use.

Trilogies are most often associated with science-fiction or fantasy, whether it be in film, novel, or even video game. However, the trilogy has been used for thousands of years, dating back to the Greeks. The Greek trilogy of plays known as The Oresteia is the oldest surviving trilogy that we have.

Why have trilogies survived for such a long time? Here are a few of the reasons.

1. They easily fit a thee-act structure

Trilogies are, obviously, perfect for the three-act structure. If you’re not familiar with it, here is a brief overview.

1. The first act generally deals with introducing characters and the world they inhabit. Later in the first act, something will happen that will change the main character’s life.

2. In the second act, the main character will try to solve his problem, but only make it worse, since he is not sufficiently experienced enough to deal with the problem.

3.) The third act will resolve the problem.

For example:

1.) In The Lord of the Rings narrative,  Fellowship of the Ring, is the first act. Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Humans, and the world they live in are all introduced. Frodo gets the ring, which changes his life forever. The problem ensues when Frodo decides to take the ring to Mordor. After Boromir tries to take the ring away, Frodo makes the decision to take the ring to Mordor on his own, which he is not ready for.

2.) The Two Towers continues the story of Frodo, who realizes how complicated his situation is getting. Gollum, Faramir, and the hordes of Mordor all complicate the situation. He realizes that he can’t carry his burden alone, but refuses Sam’s help and trusts Gollum instead of his best friend.

3.) In Return of the King, Frodo and Sam complete their quest after discovering that trust, friendship, and crazy determination (also, Gollum biting off a finger), will always win the day. The subplots are resolved, the characters are left forever changed, but are more mature and complete because of the experience.

You could apply this structure to any number of trilogies. It’s just easy, and if done well, can work beautifully.

2.) Trilogies are lucrative

Why do publishers and movie studios love trilogies? Because they make money. If the first movie or book does well, no doubt that the second and third parts of the story will also make sales. Guaranteed sales are good for the author and the publisher.  So, yes, sometimes it’s a greedy plot to make more money, but honestly, isn’t having more story worth it?

3.) Concerning fantasy/sci-fi

Fantasy and sci-fi readers are more likely to be reading for fun, so long stories are enjoyable for those readers. I love fantasy and sci-fi, so I love series that make up a trilogy (or multiple trilogies). I never feel like I have to plod through those stories, because I am doing it for enjoyment.

I know people complain about the prevalence of trilogies, but they are good for the reader, the writer, and the publisher/studio. They are an ancient form of storytelling that isn’t going anywhere soon, so try your best to enjoy the ride.



((The featured image is a screen capture from The Fellowship of the Ring. Subject to fair use. Used for illustrative purposes only.))

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