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134

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

New_134

The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe part four

filmography

Part four of The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe! The Easter special!
And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!

133

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

New_133

Spookshow this weekend!

Hey guys! Just a quick heads up, I’ll be appearing on Dale Kay’s Spookshow this weekend! For those of you not in the Cleveland area, you can catch it in its entirety Saturday, April 19 at 8pm Eastern on www.kreepykastle.com

Here’s a sneak peak!

 

Little Cigars

forgotten banner1237575_739834752727617_620849483_nThis was just the strangest concept I ever heard of. Here – listen to the description off of IMDB.

Little Cigars 1973

A gangster’s former mistress hooks up with a troupe of circus midgets who, as a sideline, rob banks and casinos

They aren’t kidding about the “Hooking Up” part either. Angel is sleeping with the leader o the little person gang…and that’s a little creepy, not because he’s a little person, but because he’s like sixty years old and she’s twenty.

I’m not sure what this is. It’s funny at times, but it’s not a comedy. The premise is just too goofy to be a serious crime drama though, and there’s not enough action for it to be an adventure flick.

Still, it’s entertaining. You get to see Jerry Marin from the Wizard of OZ (in one of the better performances of the movie actually) and  Felix Silla (Cousin IT, Twiki and many other parts) run around as gangsters and tough guys.  That’s my poster signed by both of them up there in the corner! Seriously, the movie’s a trip.

I linked to it once before up here but it looks like it’s been taken off Youtube. All I could find was this clip, so you’re going to have to track down a full copy yourself!

 

Shinboku Con 8

ConmanNew_104_5518

Last year I went to Shinboku con on a whim. Some of the clix guys had mentioned it to me, probably Sean and I figured it was time  I finally got around to checking out the con in my own back yard.  I had such a good time that  I decided to come back this year, and this time around, do it right.

I’d felt a little out of place last year because I wasn’t in costume (and a little older than most of the crowd. I’m an old school Anime aficionado) but this New_104_5546year I corrected that, designing my Mazingar Z / Transzor Z costume specificaly for this show (and then to be reused at Lake Effect next month)

I started off heading to one of the two Anime screening rooms for some Trigun and to get settled, plotting out my day. One of my big goals was to get Robert Axleod’s autograph fro my friend Johnny Em. Axlerod was one of the three spies in the original Robotech series, and john is the biggest Robotech fan I’ve ever met. Robert was nice, but professional. New_104_5493You can see he does a lot of these shows and he’s got a con persona. No complaints though. It was nice enough to meet him, he caught me on the way to his panel and I followed him in. The panal was all about his Power Rangers role, which was a little dissapointing consider his vast filmography.

I headed over to the Jedi stunt show wich was loads of fun, mostly involving lightsaber battles. A Darth Maul10173514_657373694310912_38975565317754330_n came out and invited members of the audience to try a lightsaber out. Watching him fight Fix-it Felix from Wreck-it Ralph (at first  I thought it was Handy Manny) was hiliarious. Blade against hammer….

I volunteered and  the croud roared with applause as Maul and I double teamed the Jedi, slaying him quickly.

I can’t tell you how much I hope that video shows up on youtube or facebook. I really want to see it.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h18m47s55Off to Kyle Herbert’s panel. Kyle was incredibly funny and insightfull last year and I really wish I had recorded it. This year it was a talk about nutrition and food This has been on Kyle’s mind you see, since he was diagnosed with Diabetes last July. He still managed to inject the talk with plenty of wit and charm, but not quite as interesting as last year. when I walked in to the room he suddenly stopped short, lost for a second. And then said in disbelief “and then Mazinger Z walked in the room!”

New_104_5517I got a lot of that. This costume is one of the most popular ones I’ve ever worn…even more popular than Spider-Ham. I got asked to pose for a lot of pictures and to take pictures with a lot of people. It made it worth it to wear such an uncomfortable suit. It’s really hot. I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I was until I got out of it (I lasted about five hours before changing into my TARDIS T-shirt and jeans). I’ve got to fix that helmet before Lake Effect, it’s too tight around the nose, I’m still sore under my New_104_5506nose and at the roots of my teeth.

I hate that the convention moved from five minuets away to half an hour away. I suppose Huron is that far, but I do miss being able to walk to the con and come and go from home. However I understand why they needed to move. Sawmill Creek was an excellent venue, and and all of those problems getting from one part of the con to the next were solved, the layout was far more logical and easy. This was great since my boots made traveling a little difficult at times.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h34m28s244I only caught the tail end of Alexis Tipton’s panel and never managed to catch her signing session.  That was a shame but I was in time to hear her sing the theme song from one of er more memorable Animes. She was a little embarrassed  so I’m not sure if I want to upload that to YouTube…

I also managed to catch a bit of Amber Lee Connors panel about breaking into voice acting. She’s bubbly and bright and a delight to listen to, and just as pleasant at her table.

New_10177225_656376771077271_1993057320883005027_nThe other event I had a lot of fun at was the Super Hero training. I loved the costumes and the variety of heros there. The costumes were REALLY well done and if I’d been in street clothes I would have gotten photos with every one of them!

One of the facebook reviews of Shinboku con that I read mentioned how the quality gets better every year. This is absolutely right. I can see it was more polished this year, and the new venue helped a whole lot. I don’t know if they actually added any vendors and I’d New_10171868_656376774410604_8812326548075078526_nstill like to see more stalls in the vendor room, but nevertheless, I was able to move around easily in my armor, the panels were well done, traffic was directed well and there’s ALWAYS something going on. This is the single convention I do that packs more programming in than Cinema Wasteland and that’s saying something! in addition to the standard dealer’s room,  Shinboku con sports two rooms constantly screening Anime. Two stages with programming in both locations at the same time. Two panel rooms that almost always had something going on.  A video game room with at least eight screens for competitive play and New_104_5509frequent tournaments, tables for people to play their Nintendo DS and 3DS, and a separate room for tabletop gaming, including Heroclix. And Twister, not to mention a well stocked Artist Alley (well placed too. You HAVE to walk through it to get to the two main stages, the video game room or the vendors room). There’s always something going on, not to mention parties and concerts that spring up around the event.

I think Shinboku Con may become one of the cons I attend every year, much like Wasteland or Lake Effect – or possibly even Monster Bash. It’s one of the good ones, and I highly recommend it. See you guys next year.

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DC Clix

It’s been a while since we had one of these. The reason is simple. I don’t play the game anymore. However I recently saw an excellent post up on HC Relms that I thought bore some discussion. I’ll reprint it here in it’s entirety.

A Tale of Two ‘Clixers

The announcement of the 2014 convention exclusives brought along with it the resurgence of talks about the vast difference in play styles among the two major camps in HeroClix.

Just like the Bulls and Bears of Wall Street, or the Rep’s and Dem’s of Capitol Hill, most HeroClix players (or ‘Clixers) seem to fall in between two distinct categories – what we’ll call “Heroes” and “Dials.”

“Heroes” are those players that champion the characters of the game, regardless of how effective the dial, statistics, or power combinations are. Hero ‘Clixers will play a comic accurate Justice League Dark theme team, not because they expect it will win, but because they want to see the mystical Leaguers on the map, and perhaps challenge themselves to see if they can do anything noteworthy in a 50 minute round. First and foremost, Hero ‘Clixers are in love with the iconic personalities that the game system uses to market itself with dials and powers often a secondary consideration.

“Dials” are those players that champion the dials of the game, promoting a min/max play style looking to exploit or otherwise capitalize on combat values and special powers. A Dial ‘Clixer will build a theme team, and while it may be a character they like, they often build a force to get the biggest bang for their buck on the map dismissing some figures outright for average stats. Dial ‘Clixers are enamored with the game mechanics more than they care about the colorful costume on top of the dial.


Just let me play with MY TOYS!

Now by no means are the two groups mutually exclusive – players can be a bit of both Hero and Dial ‘Clixer, and there’s no shame associated with whichever category a person falls into. There’s no “right” side as the game caters to both play styles… to an extent.

Since it’s inception HeroClix has almost always favored Dial ‘Clixers – from the Infinity Challenge release “Pit Crew” players would often resort to non-comic accurate force builds to maximize winning potential (for example teaming up the Avenger’s Black Panther with a couple of civilian Con Artists, a Paramedic and Destiny from the Brotherhood).


5 range? Who saw that coming?

Keyword theme teams attempted to reduce such oddball pairings and whether the theme team mechanic succeeded or failed, it was a recognition of game design to steer towards some kind of bonus for using certain combinations of characters. It’s only been recently that the game balance has drastically swung to favor Dial ‘Clixers with the addition of resources in 2011.

While the game is called HeroClix, more recently it resembles DialClix.


#Stophammertime

Once upon a time when building a team, a player would start by looking at which characters (heroes) they wanted to field. Today many players look to which resource dial they want to build around which is often evidenced when a new figure is previewed and the comments that follow are “He’d be really good with THIS Hammer or THAT ring.”

We could argue that resource dials give Hero ‘Clixers the ability to make their beloved characters competitive, from Ambush Bug to (Arnim) Zola. Resources give these lovable losers a fighting chance but the truth is that…

Resources make EVERY figure better

So any advantage to be gained by a Hero ‘Clixer equipping Element Woman with Skaadi’s Hammer is offset by those Dial ‘Clixers fielding Bullseye with an Electro Blast ring.


No really, Lester is my favorite character evar!

The other main shift in gaming since the resource floodgates were opened is the rise of restrictive house rules at venues across the country*. Rules restricting or banning game elements when looking for places to play are often commonplace now – it might be for one event or all, but the message is the same – some of these pieces cannot be used on a regular basis.

Aside from Golden/Modern Age, and Highlander variations the biggest offenders appear to be (in no order) Colossi, Vehicles, Team Bases and Resources. It’s worth noting that of these fab four “taboo” items, the latter three are recent conceptions that have barely had two years of game life under the NECA design team.

What does it say about game design when most of the new, unique, and eye popping elements used to draw in players can’t or won’t be used because those running the venues agree that for whatever reason they are imbalanced and shouldn’t be used regularly?

It’s especially strange when you consider that Team Bases and Vehicle hate seems to stem from individual cases (The Beetle’s Bug, PD squad Cars, JLA TB) all of which would be better served with a Watch List revised ruling than blanket banning.

Rather than make any other judgements or point blame, I’d prefer to offer solutions, specifically an option that presents a win for everyone involved – a more structured organized play system that both Hero ‘Clixers and Dial ‘Clixers can enjoy and it involves updating the use and definition of Tactics.


Let me check the definition!

Currently the term Tactics refers to:

Quote : Originally Posted by Page 20, Section 4, 2013 HeroClix Rulebook
“optional elements that you can choose to play in HeroClix games.”

Tactics include Special Objects, Resources, Feats, Battlefield Conditions, Event Dials, Bystander Tokens and Themed Teams. It may serve the game well to update Tactics to include some of the more “questionably balanced” Tactical Elements of the game like Resources, Epic Actions, Primes, Multiple Based figures, figures with certain combat symbols and so on (possibly adding figures that are temporarily on the Watch List and waiting for resolution).

At that point game design could break up Tactics into two or three levels to allow for a tiered level of organized play and venues could more easily filter out “questionably balanced” elements that they perceive is harming their venue’s attendance.

  • At level 1 play you would have your basic game.
  • Level 2 (Tactics) would provide players the basic game plus the basic Tactics.
  • Level 3 would be Level 2 plus the added Tactical Elements – basically a no holds barred, Team Base, Resource Colossi-Palooza.

Once established the Tactic Levels act like the Golden/Modern Age distinction, providing universally shared terminology that lets players know what to expect when they show up at a new venue, while letting other players plan on which events they should attend based on their own play style.


Seriously, I just wanna play with MY TOYS!

This also helps recruit newer players by compartmentalizing the rules to an extent, addressing complexity issues by restricting the newer, more complicated elements to higher levels of play. A player can be free to learn the basics at a Level 1 game without getting overwhelmed by facing elements found at level’s 2 & 3.

So long as a venue caters to both camps, everyone wins getting to use the toys and characters they love in a format they are comfortable with. WizKids wins because they can keep selling the dynamic looking team bases, Colossi and vehicles which have been marginalized by many venues as imbalanced and have taken a backseat to blanket banning.

As mentioned before, keyword theme teams were initially added to the game when Game Design recognized a need to cater to the Hero ‘Clixers. It’s high time that Game Design admits they have a problem of “questionably balanced” mechanics and offers more structure to the OP system to help control the issue.

If a Watch List won’t fix or can’t fix some of the problems, and a ban list is not an option, then at least explore updating Tactics to include a multi-tiered system that provides tools for venues to use to shape the organized play scene into something everyone can enjoy.

Marvel Clix

colson copyA few of my own  thoughts on this excellent article. Was always a Hero Clixer, which is one of the reasons I’m not very good. But really, where’s the fun in being a dial clixer? At that point it’s just …. math. Part of why I played was to have a reason to collect the cool looking pieces. But a bigger part was to hang out. TO make fun of what was going on the board – Coleson screams “This is not what I had in mind when I took the Civil Service Exam!!!” as Preadator X rips him to pieces. To hang out at the comic shop and talk Marvel vs DC. I drifted away because I honestly was getting tired of paying a five dollar entry fee to get beaten down in ten minuets by numbers not pieces. Prize support was nice, but was never that important to me.

That sounds kind of bitter. It’s not meant to be really. I still have really fond IMG_20130222_185801memories of playing; that great night where we were all trying to beat Galactus and it was down to me and Jesse and whoever hit their next role would take him down and win the game! The evening of Star Trek clix vs. Galactus with Jim and Mike. That first time Trinity of Sin got pulled out and nothing Eric or I could do would take that stinking thing down (although my tactic with Blackheart worked…just no quick enough). My girls still ask to play from time to time and those were good times.

At the end of the day though, I don’t have  the proper temperament for competitive tournament play. Just ask the Same and Jesse and Aaron about how long it took to 100_1862finally convince me to get an Infinity Gauntlet! But I’m really just playing for fun…and competitive play isn’t fun for me. It’s the same reason that in High School I enjoyed being on the Church basketball team WAY more than I enjoyed being on the Jr. Varsity team.

In the end, I really would just rather have casual games built around themes and scenarios, and wish the rest of you guys well.

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