(Not so) Free RPG Day

(Not so) Free RPG Day

As some of you may be aware, I had a rather unpleasant experience at one of my local game stores this weekend. I shall not name the store in question – I have already done so elsewhere, and the point of this piece is not to make life hard for a game store owner (who undoubtedly has hardships of his own) but rather to call attention to what I see as a baseless, craven attempt to placate the forces of mediocrity which unceasingly seek to meddle with Art and Creativity. The focus of this incident was, unsurprisingly, Better Than Any Man – an adventure offering from Lamentations of the Flame Princess by James Raggi which was offered as part of the 2013 Free RPG Day kit. James has spoken himself on the matter here (and added a positive coda here). I’m not in this to defend Poor Old James – dude’s capable of doing that himself, and frankly I think gleefully raising the ire of small-minded fools is part of his modus operandi. In short: when I showed up to support James, the store, and Free RPG Day in particular, I was told by the store owner that he was boycotting James and his products -and, by extension, Free RPG Day. The reasons given were twofold: a fear that LOTFP’s product would re-ignite the ‘Satanic Panic’ witch-hunts of the 1980’s and a fear that some underage patron would get their hands on BTAM, sparking a phone call from an angry parent…or worse. Both of these claims are easily dismissed with a modicum of forethought. In the case of potential ‘witch-hunts’...
Guillermo del Toro to adapt Monster for HBO?

Guillermo del Toro to adapt Monster for HBO?

A little piece of my soul dies every time Guillermo del Toro announces another project that isn’t At the Mountains of Madness, but he keeps finding ways of keeping my sadness at bay. If del Toro is going to goof around with things other than shoggoths, he might as well keep doing shit like this: an HBO adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. (h/t +Joe England) #gandg Embedded Link Guillermo Del Toro Is Hatching A ‘Monster’ Of A Series At HBO EXCLUSIVE: HBO and Guillermo del Toro are teaming on Monster, developing a potential series culled from a series of 18 volumes of Japanese Manga by...
El-Cheapo Wargame Alert

El-Cheapo Wargame Alert

Achtung Panzer: Operation Star can be had for as little as $1 through Indiegamestand.com. Haven’t played it yet…but the previous game, Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943 is one of the better WWII wargames of the last couple of years. Review: http://www.wargamer.com/article/3181/pc-game-review-achtung-panzer-operation-starGameplay Video: Achtung Panzer: Operation Star – “Tigers in the Snow” #gandg Embedded Link Achtung Panzer: Operation Star on sale at IndieGameStand Achtung Panzer: Operation Star is a sequel to Achtung Panzer: Kharkov 1943. It’s an Eastern Front wargame with solid graphics and sprawling battlefields that really emphasize the scope of WWII tank...
Live Event! Fiasco: Podcasters Special on Google+

Live Event! Fiasco: Podcasters Special on Google+

If your Saturday nights are as crazy-busy as mine (which is to say ‘not at all’…) why not tune in to the Fiasco: Podcasters Special this weekend as a handful of game-gab cognoscenti gather on Google+ to debase themselves for your amusement? The roster will be: Rich Rogers (Canon Puncture, Screen Play), Megan Pedersen (The Jank Cast), Ryan Shelton (Roll For News), and Alex Mayo (Geeky and Genki) – with moderation provided by Mark Diaz Truman! The fun starts at Saturday April, 20th @ 6:30 EST and you can RSVP...
Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri

Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri

Masaki Kobayashi‘s Harakiri is my favorite chambara of all time. I don’t say that lightly. In my estimation it ranks above Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Lone Wolf and Cub, and just about any other samurai film you’re likely to have seen or heard of. I don’t mean that as a slight on those films – rather, it’s a measure of how high I hold Harakiri. And I”m not alone. Remember the shootout at the end of Taxi Driver, where Travis Bickle goes on his insane killing rampage? I have a sneaking suspicion that Scorcese cribbed that from Harakiri – a tight, white-hot firebrand of anger aimed at dispelling whatever myths the viewer might have about the sanctity of bushido. Tatsuya Nakadai, whom most will remember as the gun-toting maniac Unosuke in Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, is Hanshiro Tsugumo – a masterless samurai who has arrived at the gates of the Iyi clan requesting to use their courtyard to commit ritual suicide in the usual manner. What follows is a deconstruction of bushido ethics that unfolds in harrowing, methodical detail. The suit of armor which bookends the film’s opening and closing shots is a powerful symbol of honor and martial spirit at one end and a hollow shell devoid of humanity at the other. Between the two is a beautiful tale of angry desperation – a napalm-hot declaration of war on the power of blind adherence to tradition. And lest you think Kobayashi is a man whose personal convictions don’t live up to his art, consider this: during World War II Kobayashi served in the Japanese Imperial Army; he refused any commission above private to...