12.31.05

DC Heroes Role Playing Game: Ninth Post (Time and Money)

Posted in Role Playing Games at 6:58 pm by web

This game has far too many fiddly bits. I appreciate having rules for paying rent and such, but that shouldn’t impede your ability to try and spend the rest of your money on other things. I also object to a die roll dictating the type of plot that the GM has to write (on fairly short notice too). I just think that the rule stating that you can only spend money once a week (and one of those checks per month must be used on rent and upkeep) is dumb.

This brings up the issue of time. This game requires the players and the GM to keep a freakish sense of how much time passes in game. There are checks that must be made daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I just find it odd (given that most gamers I know have a terrible sense of in-game time) that the game requires such a focused sense of time.

This game is very odd.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: First Post (First Impressions)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 6:55 pm by web

I just adore the illustrations in this book! They are simply inspired! I loved the rabbit-hole picture where the hole was in the center for the book foretelling Alice’s jump into a grand story. The creative set-ups for the photographic illustrations are just so wonderfully interesting and appropriate.

The introduction wasn’t particularly exciting, but they rarely are. The brief discussion of Lewis Carroll’s interest in photography was a nice inclusion.

I look forward to seeing more of these wonderful pictures!

Ophie Out of Oz: Fourth Post (Final Impressions)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 6:52 pm by web

This book more stopped than ended, but that kind of worked for it. I liked the idea of the book and Ophie herself, but I could very much have done without the stock characters. I kind of felt like a lot went unresolved and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. This wasn’t an amazing book, or even a terribly memorable one, but it was still enjoyable!

DC Heroes Role Playing Game: Eighth Post (Furnature)

Posted in Role Playing Games at 6:49 pm by web

It amuses me greatly that this book includes rules for what to do if your bed or bathtub is somehow destroyed.

Seriously, I do like the hideout rules. That is a good thing to include in a superhero game. The gadget rules aren’t bad either, although I’m still not clear on how a computer helps you (it seems like it should make you dumber?). Oh well.

12.30.05

Ophie Out of Oz: Third Post (Stock Characters)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 7:47 pm by web

Why do books like this always have a girl who is super-popular and perfect? Everyone always does everything for her, despite the fact that she is clearly a spoiled brat. Teachers give her preference, kids turn against each other for her and her parents seem to honestly believe that she is God’s gift to the world. She always has money, curls and a light-up-a-room smile that can be turned on and off at will.

Along the same lines, why is the unpopular, outcast girl always oddly sized (too small or too big)? She is always described as not pretty and kind of a loner. She always clings unnaturally to our hero and stares with mournful eyes when her friend leaves her. She either has no real interests of her own or one very odd interest about which she is nearly obsessive (and which is never a typical “geek” interest or a typical “girl” interest). Above all, she always has a loyal, Lassie-like heart of gold.

Why are these two characters (and usually also the Popular-Pretty Girl’s best friend/dedicated adoring minion) always there in girl school stories? It’s very frustrating! There *must* be other characters that could be used! So why do we *always* focus on these two?

This is why I would suck at writing this type of book.

DC Heroes Role Playing Game: Seventh Post (Bare Bones Role Playing)

Posted in Role Playing Games at 7:44 pm by web

I totally understand the need for rules about mechanically resolving character interactions in role-playing games, but actually stating that it’s ok for a player to say things like “I bluff” without needing to say what the bluff is is just stupid. A little bit of shortcutting can be ok, but this is just plain ridiculous! Some role-playing should be required.

12.29.05

Ophie Out of Oz: Second Post (Unimportant Issues)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 9:17 pm by web

I’m still enjoying this book, although there isn’t quite as much plot as I might have liked. I really like Ophie (although at times it feels like the author is trying a little to hard to make her quirky).

I like that many things that could have been big issues in the story (like Brittney and Tana’s family’s religiousness) aren’t made out to be so. In fact, they are simply there – like nothing could be significant or useful about them at all. I really like that, it makes the book feel realistic and avoids anything that could be a political or moral or whatever statement by the author. I am pretty pleased in general with the book thus far. It’s not brilliant at this point, but it is interesting and enjoyable.

DC Heroes Role Playing Game: Sixth Post (Editing)

Posted in Role Playing Games at 9:11 pm by web

OK, I’m pretty convinced that on one really edited this book other than perhaps a basic spell checker before it went to print. Besides the issue of sentences not ending (which I’ve mentioned before) there are other problems. I have come across several places where tenses change randomly, words are mysteriously missing, or sentence structure is such that it says something other than what they seem to intend. In a few places I wasn’t even sure what they intended! There seem to be a number of places were + symbols should be – symbols or “left” should be “right” (or vice-versa). It’s very confusing.

My very favourite editing mistake thus far was the lack of useful information in the statement “see page xxx” (there are no pages in roman numerals in the entire book).

If I ever turned in a paper this poorly edited I would expect an F mark and some choice comments from the professor!

Ophie Out of Oz: First Post (First Impressions)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 9:03 pm by web

This book starts like a pretty normal book about a kid moving to a new city and school (and there are lots of such books out there). That said, I’m already curious and optimistic. I like Ophie a lot. She is unhappy about the move, but full of hope and optimism. I loved her almost meditative vision about the new school, it said a lot about her (and hopefully about the book). I’m already full of questions! Why does Ophie’s family move so often? Why does Ophie identify so much with Dorothy Gale? What makes her so optimistic about everything? Why doesn’t she usually have good friends? Is it just a lack of time or does she actively keep people at arms length? Why is having a Toto so important? Where *are* her ruby slippers? Did they get lost in the move?

I hope this book stays as interesting as it started!

Dagger of Doom: Sixth Post (Final Response)

Posted in Childrens, Fiction at 9:00 pm by web

The ending of this book totally redeemed it for me. It wasn’t what I expected, but I think that I liked it better for that. Mechanics-wise it worked, logically it worked, and it was extremely creative to boot. I’m really pleased with this book and would happily recommend it and read more books by this author!

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