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Three More Netflix Reviews

I had fun with the last one, and there’s a few things I have opinions on that I didn’t review while I was in my last run of Dungeon Situationals. Rather than review one at a time, let’s take a short look at each. (more…)

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TDSM XI – Wake Up World

So these are exciting times. Three people today have sent me an article about other professional DMs around the world (many of whom charge a damnsite more than I do), and this hobby that was just barely sticking its nose out from its niche back in the mid 2000’s when I was learning to play is suddenly an industry that’s riding the growing e-sports and game-streaming trend to prosperity and greatness, spurred on by the likes of us who dare to charge the uninitiated into the ranks of character creators and story tellers.

And it’s not just Bloomberg who have sat up and taken notice. (more…)


Journey Quest Season 4 – Kickstarter

This is a campaign is trouble, so this is a short article to reach out to anyone who wants to hear it.

I’ve talked Journey Quest before, it’s a series set in a D&D world without going so thoroughly referential as Order of the Stick or Goblins, more that the internal logic of things like character roles and systems like magic and the relations between races, the nearness of the divine powers, and the presence of undead, orcs and ogres and that kind of ilk. (more…)


Hero Forge Has Been Busy

You guys know Hero Forge?

The service has been running for a few years now, one of the cheapest and easiest ways of getting hold of custom miniatures, 3D printed to order using a simple creator that grants a range of options in multiple genres. Without question their largest range of options has been in fantasy, but they’re far from lacking for those who want to make sci-fi, cyberpunk, modern, or eastern miniatures. (more…)


The “Level Up” Illusion

It’s a staple mechanic of so many games, a simple metric for measuring advancement, a point of comparison to where you were compared to where you are, and where other people are around you. Levelling up unlocks new skills and powers, grants access to new gear, and ultimately makes the whole process of murder-hoboing through life a far flashier affair.

But here’s the thing… (more…)


GeekOut Shrewsbury June ’19 – Board Game Beginners

Board game beginners, bring your friends, those who haven’t touched a dice since Ludo, someone who with the bitter aftertaste of Monopoly finally fading. If you can’t shuffle a deck of cards to save your life, this is your month to dip a proverbial toe firmly in the metaphorical water.

Premeet – Sweet

I did not take photos at the premeet again, I was kind of busy having my ass handed to me repeatedly at Magic while downing milkshake, not by Murray this time, but by Kim and her vicious blue-green ramp deck, which I should not have attempted to mill to death… which makes a lot of sense if you’ve played Magic but if you haven’t… well come to GeekOut, we’ll teach you.

It was pretty on theme too, Kim’s Magic addiction is in its first flushes, so taking out an experienced player with relative ease is always going to be affirming. Although I refuse to accept any and all responsibility for any hobby-induced poverty experienced as a result.

Monty’s

We have outlived the quiz! Not our quiz, the other one that was moving in on our territory. So no need to move into the far side of the pub, we get to keep our corner with all of the amenities we’ve become accustomed to, like a projector, tables for the board game library, and room to spread and expand in comfort.

And this month we were also almost back to a full compliment of 30+ attendees, including some new faces alongside the regulars. Amongst those new faces, at least one new adventurer steps into Meadsbridge, and there will be some newcomers who are most certainly returning – if not next month – then certainly in the near future.

It wasn’t all plain sailing this month, we completely forgot the competition, so I guess that’ll have to be a rollover? And we had a mini-parade of mental and medical complaints, but news and updates from all concerned sound broadly positive. We look after our own, your health and welfare are priority one. Look after yourselves and each other first and foremost, then break into the board games and nerdiness later.

Next Month – Convention Season, the 25th of July, conveniently right in time for me to vanish to America for GenCon, and while I’m starting mad prep for Insomnia in August. No Kitacon, no Amecon, so in the absence of my regular national-scale geeky get together, we’ll do our best to capture the moment.


A Begrudging Defence of The Big Bang Theory

I am very… very proud to be a nerd in the 21st century. Our culture, is culture, we took over in a big way, we’re not the counterculture or the underground any more. Comics break the box office, games outsell every form of modern media, we’re in music, literature, we’re on every screen, and even the geekiest of hobbies have entered the public sphere.

Back in 2007, Chuck Lorre who was still riding high on Two and a Half Men success, created a show that… yeah, let’s say it took advantage of the rise of geek culture in its early flushes, computer games were starting to get mainstream, and we’re still pre-MCU. Here comes this gaggle of guys who are painfully socially awkward, love science and comic books, and don’t understand girls, and OH NO, a girl just moved in next door and she doesn’t understand any of it, and one of those guys loves her so very, very much.

There are just… so many reasons why The Big Bang Theory is a slap in the face to geeks, and they have been described best by other people, Wisecrack are actually pretty good at pulling it apart for it’s worst aspects, and it’s not just about the laugh track. The characters are caricatures, the reference humour is reference without the humour, and while the science on the boards may be accurate, it doesn’t take too long to realise that neither actors nor writers know what they’re talking about. And Sheldon is “crazy”, at it’s most base definition, he demonstrates some of the clearest signs of inability to comprehend and function within a wide variety of basic human functions.

Personally, I got sick of it around when they started attempting to understand Dungeons & Dragons; it was like a mask had been ripped off and suddenly the hideous thing beneath was revealed. And how many times did I hear people say “You sound like that Sheldon from Big Bang you do”? That’s a kick in the face I don’t need thank you madam.

I’ll throw some links down below, that’s not what this article is about.

Geeks were on TV, and they were popular enough to endure 12 years of being on TV. They were grown men wearing comic-book logos, playing video games, making science jokes, some of which were funny, they’d watch cartoons when bored, they hang swords on the walls and behaved awkwardly in normal situations while thriving at science competitions and strolling into conventions like kings. They were the centre of the social circles at the comic book shops, they’d take cross country road trips to meet celebrities from sci-fi shows, and they’d spend their days in the lab doing science and changing the face of the world.

Ok, it was a lot of stereotypes, many of which got pretty damn hurtful, but it’s stereotypes that people understand. “Normal” people don’t want to hear a lot of science jokes, the good ones I mean, same with video game and comic book jokes, and gods forbid an anime joke slips through the editors desk… ever. But they know pop-science, and they understand the words they learned in their teens like Friction or Tangential. It’s a foot in the metaphorical door, and if it means a few more people make the brave step into the rest of the room, and much like with actual physics, they’ll learn that they’ve been taught wrong the whole time, but it helps them to understand the rich complexity that lies beyond.

And on the subject of learning physics, the Big Bang Theory has not only caused a massive upswing in interest in science among younger kids, the show has also funded its own scholarship fund for STEM students. I also found out today that the science consultants would also have their work checked by Mayim Bialik* who’s highly qualified to do so, and unlike the rest of the cast, really does know what she’s talking about.

Nor is she the only true-blooded nerd on the show! Wil Wheaton is something of a polarising figure, but there’s no debating his geeky chops, years of role-playing and board gaming and a ~cough~ “starring” role on Star Trek definitely earn him the proverbial badge, and he brings a few old Star Trek friends along for the ride. See also, Katee Sackhoff, Brian Posehn, Kevin Smith, Summer Glau, Stan Lee – The cameo king, also the kings of pop-science Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Steven Hawking… go through the cameo list, there are some big names and many of them actually wanted to be on the show!

Most of these people are already household names, but there are plenty of them whose presence on the show brings more and more light to the geeky creators still working tirelessly in the industry to bring real nerds and nerdiness to screen, and who knows? Maybe a few TBBT fans might end up falling into that culture in time.

It’s an insult to our intelligence, it’s an insult to geeky culture, but it appeals to a particular palette that we’d reach no other way. If we are ever to strive for the great, glorious geeky, monoculture born of media domination and memes… lots of memes… we have to meet the common people on their own territory, we have to extend the proverbial olive branch and say “it’s cool, we get it” while drip feeding the truth.

Now here’s some stuff about why the Big Bang Theory is terrible… it’s just terrible. Some contain rudey badwords.

Pop Culture Detective – The Adorkable Misogyny of TBBT

Wisecrack – What Went Wrong

No Laugh Track


*Something that many people did not pick up, Mayim was referenced a year or two before her actual appearance as “TVs Blossom” when debating new friends they ought to bring into the group. Guess she was listening.


Review – Jessica Jones Season 3

After a spate of cancellations, Jessica Jones included, I wasn’t expecting to see another Defenders series, and this final season of Jessica Jones arrived with surprisingly little fanfare. The meta-series hit rocky reception from the back-half of Luke Cage, grew worse through Iron Fist and generally the ensemble piece was… just bad to be honest, I’d started to see a solid beacon of hope afterwards however. The Punisher was a breath of bloody air, Luke Cage’s second season ended on a compelling note, and Daredevil reached a great conclusion, a happy ending with which anyone with even the most bitter tendencies (me) could be satisfied. (more…)


Dungeon Situational – Ten Ghosts (pt 2)

More ghosts, here’s part one.

… And One for the Man in the Corner

In the Ox and Puncheon there’s a table with a candle that’s never lit, a cup that never empties but is regularly refreshed, and chairs that are never moved and never sat in except by those approaching the end of their tether. The old barflies know to get one for the man in the corner, the publican and her staff invite all new patrons to add an extra cup to their order, with a furtive nod to the dark table where no one sits and nurses pint after pint of Pig Iron stout. (more…)


Dungeon Situational – Ten Ghosts (pt 1)

Three short of a mediocre film.

Also this is going to have to be a two-parter by necessity! Expect part two on Thursday, and then a pause on Dungeon Situational for a few months while I get a few other article ideas out into the world. Here are the first five examples of ghosts, hauntings, and other untethered spirits.

Here again I will be using rules for 5th edition D&D but should be easily adaptable for other systems. (more…)