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Sometimes when you are endeavoring to create something exaggerated and ridiculous specifically to make light of something, you end up with the game suggested in the third panel which… I would play, frankly.  After getting into Gaslands, in truth, I think there’s no beloved toy that could not find its truest expression being carefully, affectionately modeled in a wargame.  Also, the young man in the strip is my son.  He got big, somehow.

My oldest Warmachine figurines are all chunks of heavy metal, dangerous and poky, such that they could be hurled at the wall and probably just remain there.  Modern figs tend to be substantially more detailed and beautiful plastics or resins which is for the best generally speaking but the heft of scooting a Crusader or the Avatar of Menoth or something across the table gave the proceedings a ritual cast.  Gaslands is a vehicular combat game, solid where it needs to be, abstract where it best serves play, and you play it using Hot Wheels as your “miniatures.”  They often have the same heft - heavier than they look - and moving them through terrain and toward the opponent is fun by itself.

Movement is one of the key things about Gaslands, and almost certainly the thing that is most striking at first. Misleading, also.  Observe.  This template set is the one I got from Litko, but you can download them and other great stuff from the official Gaslands site:

You drive cars (or helicopters, or semis, or whatever) by choosing a template, and then placing it in front of or behind the vehicle.  You can get the idea seeing the templates that it is That Type Of Game, by which I mean an X-Wing type thing, but those games are about choosing moves simultaneously and then resolving chains of them.  This is a far more technical manifestation of that idea, and the full range isn’t even available in this shot - note the little notch in the movement templates, where I’ve placed the slide token there.  When we were first playing, we thought the idea was to avoid things like Slides or Spins, which are results you can get on dice and then have to be adjudicated, but that’s not where we’re at now.  They can be dangerous to perform, building up a kind of Anti-Resource called Hazard on your vehicle, but…  under the right circumstances, they can enable surprising movement, or a style of movement, you can’t get any other way.  And you pay for them in danger.

You customize a car’s capabilities with a point buy system, and there are many options in the base book and more besides in the four free expansions.  My friend Eric, who you may know as Edge Benson, tends to bring a couple cars to the dance - specifically a performance car (free activations after evading attacks) and a buggy (roll cage means no damage from flipping).  I like to put all of my points into a single Monster Truck with minigun on a turret and it all works.  Each turn is broken up into six phases, one for each gear, and it’s set up so that if you are in a higher gear you actually act more often.  Resolving collisions may be a tricky spot for you, but the community has already answered most of these questions and it’s all online.  The primary danger you might experience is that all this may lead you down a rabbit hole of other games from this company, Osprey Publishing, and get a sense how rich and wild wargaming can be outside the vertically integrated silos of the mainstream offerings.

Gabe and I are gonna jump on the stream here in a sec to try a couple things out, might figure out how to get him ready for Dragon Quest Builders 2 multiplayer, might give that new Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 a try, both on the switch.  Starts up at 2pm PDT!

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 days ago

I thought Dragon Quest Builders was cool but Dragon Quest Builders 2, with it’s promise of a multiplayer endgame existing in perpetuity and a commitment to ongoing content, essentially dominates my free time.  It’s all being poured into this tiny device.  I will watch Gabe stream it while also playing it, in an effort to “hack” living such that I can experience more of it within the clutching and greedy span capricious fate has allotted me.  I run this battery into the ground daily, and then must resort to - avert your eyes, Mother - playing in docked mode.

I had read that it was only an hour or so before you could access multiplayer, and while I would say that it probably took me longer than most to get there I’m prepared to call “an hour” a hateful lie.  I don’t think ten times that would be out of the question, or more, if you were enjoying yourself or of you managed to get hung up on some quest trigger that isn’t clear.  It’s literally the only thing that bothers me about the game - I like it so much that I often accomplish or discover things ahead of time, and it does its best to catch up, but I often have to retrace my steps to understand why I haven’t ticked something forward.  Maybe it would help if I read some of this text?

Somebody on Twitter said “isn’t that just Minecraft with slimes” and I said, no Minecraft is just Dragon Quest Builders 2 with no motivation.  It’s not all churl.  I get Minecraft and I think it’s amazing, but as a platform for people to express themselves in either with the systems or the world or by making new systems out of its guts.  I can’t really work in either of those.  DQB2 lets me “get” how people live in there, and it’s at that level of mania.  Plus, the end of the first island is legitimately one of the brightest, most life affirming moments I’ve ever had in a videogame.  I’m not exaggerating.

I’m not as much into aesthetics as Ol’ Mr. Gribbs, and I had a problem where I couldn’t figure out how to hang the Harvest Festival pennants anywhere but… the bathrooms, only the bathrooms were decorated for the celebration, but I did my best and I like to think the unfeeling algorithms that govern my AI citizenry made note.

The Finale of “The Velvet Cloak,” the middle bit of the third season of Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team starts tonight at 4pm PDT on the le Twitch, but it’s the culmination of so many things that you might want to start earlier.  That’s something we take pretty seriously, the idea that we’re asking a lot of you, which is why you can watch live or catch the vod, catch it on the YouTube playlist, or wherever you listen to podcasts, even if you just want the RSS.  There’s even recaps to help get you caught up.  There’s Never Been A Better Time, etc.

(CW)TB out.   

I love DQB2!

Thanks to the folks who stopped by my Dragon Quest Builders 2 stream last night. If you watch the VOD you can see all kinds of goofy stuff happening on the screen while I’m playing. I remember to turn the microphone on after a few minutes.

Last night my MixPlay buttons let viewers grow crops and build a little house around my avatar. I had it set up so that people could spend Sparks to “water seeds” and “collect materials” during the stream. So as I was playing, the chat was building little scenes of their own and I’ve got plans for even more elaborate stuff. I still feel like I’m just scratching the surface of what I can do with MixPlay and that’s really exciting.

-Gabe Out

-Gabe out

Tycho / 5 days ago

It’s actually true that there is a thing you can use, specifically, a gridded interface you use to place interactive elements and define their behavior.  I’m not saying that to diminish his accomplishment; if anything, it’s to laud them for theirs.  But he has a history of discovering some new concept and then effortlessly mastering it in a way that is profoundly annoying.

Do you remember when Flash was a thing?  I mean, obviously Flash is still a thing, like a haunted stump is a thing, but Flash was creating a Web for a little while there that was more like The Future and less like a phonebook that required thousands of dollars to access.  I came back to the apartment from work one day, and before I knew he was even interested in Flash he’d made a massive, interesting site in it which was one thing but he’d also perfectly cut a bunch of audio loops as well, which I considered my thing.  So I was mostly mad.

When we first made this site twenty years ago, Gabe handled all the art and I handled the HTML - I learned how to make a table for just that purpose.  But I arranged things in a way that stretched it out because the menu items are all one one side and there was just a fallow field on one side.  That hole - then a material one, now a conceptual one, I filled for no other reason than that gap.  I can’t stress this enough: I have written an article to accompany the comics for twenty years just to avoid learning something.

He’s over at his desk now, drawing crops on his iPad pro - “stream crops” you’ll be able to click on to water, grow, and ultimately harvest with Sparks.  You can also build a little house around the avatars he’s made already.  By comparison, I learned a cool word over the weekend - but I’ve already forgotten it.

My friend Armoire, who you may know, falsely, as Amy T. Falcone, will be joining me on the (Twitch) stream this Afternoon to excavate some Dota Underlords.  Apparently they’re way, way down there.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

Call For Enforcers

There is a lot about PAX that makes it what it is, but it would be very hard to imagine PAX at all without Enforcers.  I know people who attended the show one year, got the help they needed to have a great show from a member of this powerful coalition, and became an Enforcer the next year.

  We’re looking to build that world class force for PAX West, and if that sounds like something you’re ready to explore hit up the site and let us know what you think.


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