Robotech RPG Tactics: Update 197 Weekend, My Thoughts

If there were only two sides to an argument conflict of all kinds would be easy.

White, Black

She said, He said

Right, Wrong

Jelly, Peanut Butter

Unfortunately, rarely are there only two sides to an argument. Again, unfortunately, it is a human condition to attempt to boil any argument down to two sides. Two is a lot easier to comprehend. Having a side to defend and assail is much easier than taking the time to look at all of the sides and even easier than taking the time to understand all of the sides and even easier again, than attempting to have some compassion and understanding for those who you disagree with.

This weekend, starting Friday and potentially ongoing, a series of events unfolded and here is what I know…

Carmine Bellaire of Rogue Heroes Games wrote a poorly worded post on the Robotech RPG Tactics comments. He may have had the best of intentions, unfortunately his words were poorly chosen. Essentially, he was attempting to drum support for his impending Rifts Boardgame Kickstarter and deflect as much negative attention from disgruntled Robotech RPG Tactics backers.

  • Prior to his comments, there had been discussion of backing the Rifts Boardgame with a dollar to post comments/commentary on the negative state of the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter, to avoid anything Palladium Books in general, and be disruptive (in my opinion, a poor way to handle the situation)

What followed was, by internet standards with a few exceptions, a reasonably spirited discussion/argument. Make no mistake a lot was said, most of what was said was not well thought or well intentioned by anyone. This is a problem with internet communication where people on all sides are passionate and feel they have a stake in the discussion.

The following day or so, Kevin Siembieda president of Palladium Books posted Update 197 “A Terrible Day.” I can only hope that Kevin really does have the best interests of Carmine in mind when he wrote Update 197. Unfortunately, instead of writing a factual account of Carmine’s attempted suicide, support for Carmine, and expressing empathy and understanding for Carmine, people who are suicidal, and his target audience, he wrote an attack piece, laying the blame for Carmine’s situation at the feet of the backers.

And that is where I got involved. At first I was curious. Then I started researching. And here were are.

Remember, there are more than two sides to this and nothing is mutually exclusive.

Carmine did what he did not because of a single conversation on the internet. People who harbor suicidal thoughts harbor them for a long time and there are issues beyond the obvious and immediate. That conversation or the one on the Palladium forums or anywhere else may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but make no mistake Carmine needed assistance before then.

Kevin wrote what he wrote, not because he was truly concerned with his friend. The tone and topics of the Update speak directly to this. A friend in need is never in need of having their laundry aired in public, especially in the manner that Kevin chose.

What bothered me most, was the following…

the expectation of the tone Kevin’s update, that when there was a situation to exploit, Kevin would and did take that route.

the level of distrust of Kevin and Palladium Books has engendered, that the thought, “Kevin made it up” was seriously brought up and that is a horrible thought to have.

the complete lack of follow thru, see, on one hand I am okay with what Kevin wrote, if I thought someone or a group of someone’s had done something that led to a friend getting harmed, I too would react in an over the top manner. I would blame them. I would castigate them. I would hold them responsible. I would rant and rave without much thought.

Then…

I would think. I know I would do this, because I have been there.

Kevin should, not needs too, write another Update. He does not have to offer an apology for what he wrote. He should however, speak of his friend in better terms, stop speaking for his friend, inform the community he blamed of his friend’s condition, he should reach out to those who may also harbor similar thoughts, he should demonstrate that he is indeed concerned about his friend and not about his company. He should, in other words, do more.

What about the community? Well, I cannot speak for all internet communities and I won’t. I can say that there are people who need to dial back the vitriol, dial back the rhetoric, dial back the aggression. I understand frustration. I understand frustration leading to anger and all it takes to spark anger into a fire is a few poorly chosen. The community too, should do more.

For Carmine and others who harbor similar thoughts, I hope he recovers. I hope he moves on from this in a positive manner. I hope he has support and gets more support. I hope he reengages with the community, because while his initial words may have been poorly chosen, there is a dialog to engage in for everyone.

Finally, information…

Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-Suicide Prevention

* I have not provided links to the comments or Update 197 for my own reasons.

 

Games We Play: Sushi Go Party!

Try to imagine your daughter saying “sushi go…PARTY!” with a little jump and fist pump. Did you imagine that, awesome, because it is cute as all hell. That is also how our Sushi Go Party by Gamewright session started.

Sushi Go Party is not a new game. Sushi Go Party is an upgraded version of Sushi Go. We love Sushi Go. We played until a card was lost and then waited, patiently, for Sushi Go Party’s release.

As a quick recap, Sushi Go is a card passing and matching game. Start with a hand of cards pick one, pass your hand, and continue picking and passing until all of the cards are in play. Your goal is to collect sets of cards or to collect individual cards worth points only looking at the ever shrinking hand of cards passed to you. When all of the cards are played, count up your points and start a new round. Sushi Go is not a complicated game, our eight year old learned a year ago. The hardest part of Sushi Go is keeping track of the cards in play so that you plan your picks well and do not end up with a round of 0 points…I did not track that well.

If Sushi Go is a great game, what is Sushi Go Party? Good question. Sushi Go Party is a deluxe version of Sushi Go. If you have Sushi Go, pick up Sushi Go Party the new stuff is worth the cost. If you are thinking of picking up Sushi Go, just pay the bit extra and get Sushi Go Party.

Sushi Go Party comes with new cards for all categories of food, desert, and modifiers. These cards come with some new rules, such as Tea which scores 1 point for each card of the same color that you have the most of; example: you have three yellow cards, two pink cards, and tea at the end of the round Tea will score you 3 points for the yellow cards. Miso Soup is another new card, score 3 points, but only if you are the only player to play Miso Soup when cards are revealed.

Sushi Go Party comes with a menu style scoring board. The best thing about Sushi Go Party is this board, not only can you keep track of scores in a visible manner, you can show what cards are in the deck and how each type scores. Due to the new cards, players assemble the deck before each game. Chosen types of cards go into the menu board as a reminder of what cards are in play and how each card scores. The expanded rulebook has several suggested deck suggestions for a variety of games.

That doesn’t sound like much, however when a Sushi Go Party game is running at top speed: pick, pass, reveal, pick, pass, reveal remembering what cards score, especially with the new cards can be an issue, especially with new players. Speaking of which we had two new players and after a game both players could play without any major issues.

I highly recommend Sushi Go Party or Sushi Go for any game group. Quick play, easy to learn, fun mechanism, and generous scoring opportunities allow for close games.

 

Games We Play: Warhammer 40k

It has been two years and three weeks in the making to play our “first” game of Warhammer 40k. Approximately two years ago we bought our boy a Warhammer 40k boxed set because he likes the Tyranid (think bugs) Army and I after many years of working at a hobby shop as a “games guy” love to assemble, paint, and play Warhammer 40k, but hate the Tyranids.

warhammer-7Unfortunately two years ago he was not ready. Now he is. He has dilengently read the rules, he has painted (as 12 years do) many of his figures, and he has begun assembling them. Plus, because we did not have terrain, he built some (as you will see), out of Legos.

I will not, unlike in other game reports, explain the rules of Warhammer 40k. The rules are complex (at times needlessly so) and explaining them would be several blog posts. Instead, allow me to say that for our boy this is the most complicated game he has ever tried to learn. Warhammer 40k is a game that he will play for a long time and get a lot of enjoyment out of. There are and will be games he likes better, but this will stick with him for a long time to come.

warhammer-2Our “first” game (we played two years ago, but did not go well) was a mess. What is a mess? Constantly looking up rules, constantly referring to stats, and generally getting many of the wrinkles out when learning a complicated game. This was on both sides of the table.

With more preparation, such as having all of our units on easy to reach and read stat cards, would have helped. However, much was learn as you go situations such as what can a tyranid army do against a dreadnought? Turns out, not much for now. Or what exactly happens during an assault phase and so on. These wrinkles are not new to me, but to him major hurdles he had to learn to work through, such as finding a rule to prove your point. If he couldn’t find the rule, then the rule didn’t exist. I am very proud of him, this could have been a game that broke him. Instead he is working on his stat cards as I type this.

warhammer-5As for our game, I won, but not because of anything more than I had a dreadnought and he did not have any anti-armor weapons. He did not because I did not pay attention to the dreadnought stats which are like a tanks. If I had I would have counseled him to build units with anti-tank. As I did not pay attention, he didn’t. On the other side, I didn’t pay attention to how melee combat focused his army was so I only built a five man squad of assault marines.

warhammer-1The game went like this; we moved a lot. 🙂 Then I charged his genestealers after shooting them up. I won the combat or so I thought, then two (yes, two) genestealers killed most of my five man squad. Then my librarian (commander) died. Then his commander died. Then the dreadnought killed everything else while remaining immune to his actions. In another proud gamer dad moment, once I realized the situation I asked if he wanted to stop playing because it was not fair, he said nope he wanted to see what he could do and learn from that.

Did we have fun, yes. Will we keep playing, yes and games will get easier.

Puddles and Whiskers, A Chuck Tail 1

A Chuck Tail

“Sal you crack me up,” Chuck said to the holo-of Sal the Salesman moving from door to door in an attempt to sell the latest in self-cleaning droid technology.

Sal the korogin holo-walked past Chuck’s favorite chair, knocking on the door in front of Chuck’s bookcase. A tired looking cymean woman wearing a flowered hat on the left side of her head stuck her head out the door; Chuck could not stop laughing at the image.

“Good afternoon, ma’am,” holo-Sal began.

“Afternoon,” the holo cymean woman responded in a high tone.

“My name is…[incoming call]…Sales…[incoming call]..”

Pressing pause on the arm of his chair, “Deity damnit!” Chuck swore while stabbing the call button.

“What!” he shouted.

“Is that how you greet your mother?” Puddles voice purred from the speakers around Chuck’s living room.

Sitting up straight, even though nobody, especially Puddles could see him, Chuck responded, “Only when she owes me money or interrupts Sal the Salesman.”

Puddles laughed, “You still watch that hundru show?”

Chuck’s fur bristled at the insult for a brief second, “Better than some of the crap you watch,” he retorted. “You have a job for me?”

“Maybe,” she teased.

Chuck thought too long for a retort or response, nothing came, he settled for silence, one the better responses, he learned, to Puddles needling.

“Chuck, you still there?” She asked, silence for the win.

Standing up, dusting remnants of his snack onto the floor, he would need a self-cleaning droid soon if this kept up he thought, “Yeah, I’m still here. What do you have for me?”

“Depends. How much free time do you have?”

Chuck swallowed the quick retort and went with, “I’m free for paying jobs.”

“Excellent,” Puddles responding, “Sending you the details.”

His watch blinked three times; details received, “Got the details. Anything I need to know before I read this?”

“Nothing unusual, a simple tracking job. Swing by the office when you finish.”

Case details replaced Sal the Salesman, “Will do.”

Puddles ended the call while Chuck walked around his living room reading the details. Puddles was not lying, a simple track job of Lorika wageslave for Tranco Citywide; follow her around for the day, taking vid of where she stops, and who she talks to, easy enough.

Eight hours later

Chuck staggered into Puddles and Whiskers Office, his clothing covered in food, his fur matted, and a haggard almost defeated look on his face. Flopping down in a chair in front of Puddles side of the desk, he tossed a vid-stick and a broken eyepatch onto her mess.

Puddles looked up, looked shocked-eyes wide, “What happened to you?”

“Watch the vid. You guys have any coffee ready?”

“Sure, check the break room.”

Puddles inserted the vid-stick into her desk display as Chuck staggered to get coffee, from the breakroom he could hear her laughter, then Whiskers joined in the laughter.

Easy Enough…

Hailing her cab was easy enough using the Tranco Citywide application. Standing on the 57th floor near the Cloud was not so easy. Chuck looked at his watch, ten minutes late; he wondered how Tranco stayed in business. Suppressing a cough from the pollution and backing further into the corner to block the biting wind, he waited.

With the beep of a horn and roaring of engines, a green Tranco taxi pulled up to the curb. The passenger door slid open, and a female voice asked, “You waiting for a ride?”

Adjusting his eyepatch over his left eye, Chuck swaggered, as he thought an important person would, over to the taxi. A quick look at the driver before sitting down, positive match to Lorika. Sitting in the back, he set his carryall on the floor behind her seat.

“Where you headed?” she asked

 

 

500 And 1 Words At A Time: Ideas Without Words

Today is not a typical day, but is a day I am familiar with and maybe all writers are familiar with to some extent.

Despite the popular image of a writer sitting in front of whatever and banging away ceaselessly on their magnum opus, the truth is writing is an up and down process. The up is when the ideas and words flow like a river. The down is when something is off, not in a life gets in the way sense, but in a you have the ideas but the words won’t show up or you have the words and no ideas.

How is this possible to have an idea but no words or vice versa? Unfortunately pretty easy.

For example: I have an idea for a singular short story around Chuck. I want to tell more about who Chuck is and what Chuck can do and thinks he can do. In my head, this is a fast paced short with a lot of humor. This is my idea. And the words to create this idea have failed me all day. I have a bunch of sentences that on the surface read well, but when read together do not have the flow I have in mind.

Another example: Worldship Horizon needs an adjustment, the original idea is sound. However, my initial approach went off the rails really fast. Since that time I have had a few ideas to start over or readjust, yet each time I sit down to write, today even, the words don’t match the idea. Funny thing, is that well take a look…

As a blunt nose tender finished pushing the last colony section into place, green lights flashed around the edges. In another section of the worldship, the last troopers marched into lockdown position, armor on, weapons ready, locked down for transport.

****

Maxwell slumped in his command chair, sweat running down his face, sensors clear, warning lights flashed indicating systems damaged or destroyed, but they won their first battle. Over the command net, orders given, status updates, injury reports, and requests formed a familiar background noise, until he removed his helmet allowing the helmet to roll down to the floor.

Fans clicked on the cool breeze felt great. Maxwell sat up…

The first is a complete new start when the Horizon is loading before the launch. Interesting take, but not a direction I think needs too much revisiting. The second puts Maxwell, formerly a foot soldier, into the cockpit of something-a tank, a robot, or something else. Again, an interesting idea, but not where I wanted to work, down the road once I have a better start maybe.

I don’t what other writers do, not necessarily the truth I have read a few books by other authors so I know what they do, and while their solutions work for them they do not work for me. Writing comes and goes, today writing is doing both-I was able to bang this out without incident, but other stuff…

Puddles and Whiskers, New 5

Two things, I hate names. I hate naming things and I hate having to remember how I spelled a name. If you notice that Camile or Camilie or Camlie…you get the idea, I will catch and correct all of them in the next editing pass.

The other thing is not a hate, this scene takes place before the first Acid Chamber prep meeting while Whiskers is breaking the bad news to CamhoweverIspelledit and follows Puddles chasing down the file Whiskers received while on the job of chasing down the cheating hubby. Enjoy. 🙂

Running Down Clues

“Interpersonal skills, my furry ass,” Puddles mumbled to herself.

For the third time in as many minutes, she looked at the data on the tablet. The address matched up; however, the holo of a storefront did not match the building she stood in front of, Medical Offices of Tablix and Aslan. Puddles leaned against the wall next to the front doors, making an inquiry on the tablet data appeared.

Doctor Tablix and Doctor Aslan licensed through the city, general practitioners, and recently moved their offices to the location she stood next too. Looking over the reviews, each one a glowing testament to their skills and affordability, too glowing the cynical side of Puddles screamed. Another data search more information, another image of each doctor to compare to their licensing images; at least she knew what they looked like. Nothing outstanding in any public record.

A vid-chat notice popped up in the upper corner of her tablet; Whiskers. Stepping away from the wall, she sat on a bench near the street and tapped the icon.

“What’s up?” She asked. “Stop looking you can’t see where I am at.”

“Camile left,” Whiskers said with a sigh.

“Something wrong? She didn’t stiff us did she?”

“The isstas are in the account.”

“Good. Then what is bothering you?”

“I do not like chasing down cheating spouses and delivering the news.”

“Neither do I, but we need the isstas,” Puddles replied watching two gangers enter the doctor’s office. “That’s odd.”

“What?”

“Patients of the doctors don’t look like they live in the area.”

“How much longer do you need? We have a lot of work to do for Acid Chamber,” Puddles was positive Whiskers tone improved. What he heard in their music was beyond her.

“If you or Chuck don’t need me I’m going to spend a few more hours watching this place. Something is off.”

“So there was something of use in that file,” Whiskers said with a smirk.

“Yes, it does,” Puddles, mumbled.

“Meet us at the office when you are done.”

“Later,” Puddles touched the icon ending the call.

Looking around wageslave hell, Puddles spotted a coffee shop with a good view. Plenty of time to watch who entered and left the doctor’s office before a boring meeting. Taking an elevated walkway to cross the street, Puddles marveled at the sights; four lanes of flying traffic above and below the walkway, express elevators rushing up and down the sides of the buildings, and everywhere people working in offices or moving to work. Before entering the building with the coffee shop, Puddles took one last look up, nothing but more traffic, the Cloud, and buildings.

“Welcome,” greeted the overly cheery wageslave behind the counter. “What can I make you?”

Puddles looked at the holo-menu boards coming close to passing out from all of the choices. The coffee place near their offices had coffee and not much else. Someone behind her made an exasperated noise. Puddles shook her head.

“Coffee. Just you largest cup of coffee,” she finished before the cheery wageslave could launch into his prepared litany of types and sizes of coffee.

“Would you like something to eat, such as…”

“Just the largest cup of coffee,” Puddles interrupted ignoring the wageslave’s shocked look.

Giant cup of coffee in hand, Puddles navigated the room looking for a seat near the window with a clear view of the doctor’s office. Dozens of people of all species, the only unifying things, branded coffee and wageslave uniforms. After dodging the hundredth individual with their face in some electronic device ignoring the world around them, Puddles was thankful for the job she had. Spying an available seat, Puddles elbowed a wageslave out of the way, mumbled an apology, and sat down.

After the second pair of gangers entered the doctor’s office, Puddles began noting the times of their arrival and departure. From her seat, Puddles could not see any changes between when a pair entered and left. Maybe they all had a cold, she sarcastically thought. Every hour and a half another pair; never the same pair nor anyone before. All of gangers from two or three gangs, as best she could tell by their appearance.

Finishing her coffee, Puddles looked at her notes, several pages of information and images, this might be the lead to re-open the case; after Acid Chamber.

Nail Clippers, Pages 13 & 14

Previously.

Soon enough we reach the point where the story went off the rails in my head. Until then, enjoy. 🙂

****

Jax carried several bags of fertilizer to the garden behind the porch; his rose plants needed some attention. Dropping the bags, two rabbits hopped off. If Jetta would let him, he would do something about those rabbits, but she insisted they he leave them alone. Every year, she started a garden and every year the rabbits ate most of it. Circle of life indeed. Jetta joined him carrying a tray of plants.

“Hey, my rabbits,” she cheerfully said, pointing at the white tails hoping around a corner.

“Yes, your rabbits,” Jax said sarcastically, “This year…”

“You will not do anything to my rabbits,” Jetta interrupted.

“What? No, this year I am going to get a blue rose.”

Every year he tried to grow a blue rose and while Jetta thought he would never be successful, she had to admit that some of the roses he did grow were pretty and the color in the yard was always pleasant.

Putting on her best, “of course you will look,” “This will be the year.”

“Don’t give me that look. This is the year,” he replied as he started unpacking the tray of plants.

“Want something to drink?”

“Please,” Jax replied, arranging the plants in neat rows.

In the kitchen, Jetta wiped off the counter before opening the refrigerator; reaching for two Cokes, the doorbell sounded, ding-dong, followed by a knock. Leaving the refrigerator door open, Jetta answered the front door; at the door was a short woman wearing a dark blue Package Express Nationwide International Services uniform. Her white name patch proudly announcing her name, Erin. She smiled at Jetta, and then frowned as an ambulance roared down the street. Jetta looked down the street after the ambulance and shrugged her shoulders.

“I have your package,” Erin said cheerfully, as she held up a box wrapped in brown paper, “Uh…”

The brown paper box buzzed and shook hard enough to cause Erin’s hands to shake. Jetta heard the loud buzzing and gave Erin a knowing smirk. Jetta took the vibrating box from Erin’s hands. Holding onto the box made her fingertips started to tingle. Erin pulled a handheld signature device from a hip holster and held it out to Jetta who set the box down. Vibrating on the ground the box started to move, Jetta put a foot on top of the box halting the box’s escape.

“It’s from my aunt,” Jetta said with another smirk as she signed on the line.

“Have a good day,” Erin said with a smile, raising an eyebrow towards the vibrating box under Jetta’s foot.