undyingking: (Default)
Last night in a dream I was playing an interesting (possibly) RPG. Again it was one of these modern-style restrictive one-off systems, designed solely for whodunnits, for a GM and one or two players. The general idea was that the players (who are detectives along the lines of Poirot etc) advance through various predefined scenes and encounters, gathering information and impressions, and then at the end they are given a multiple-choice sheet in which they have to tick the box of the NPC who they think was the culprit.

In the dream it was quite fun, although I dare say in real life it would be quite hard for the GM to generate scenarios. But that is true of any 'solving mystery' type of game, and at least this one, because of the restrictions on what the PCs can do, you know that you don't have to cover too much ground outside of the main plot.

But really first I should do a proper test of the Haunted House game, as my migraine rather knackered the first one.
undyingking: (Default)
Last night in a dream I was playing an interesting (possibly) RPG. Again it was one of these modern-style restrictive one-off systems, designed solely for whodunnits, for a GM and one or two players. The general idea was that the players (who are detectives along the lines of Poirot etc) advance through various predefined scenes and encounters, gathering information and impressions, and then at the end they are given a multiple-choice sheet in which they have to tick the box of the NPC who they think was the culprit.

In the dream it was quite fun, although I dare say in real life it would be quite hard for the GM to generate scenarios. But that is true of any 'solving mystery' type of game, and at least this one, because of the restrictions on what the PCs can do, you know that you don't have to cover too much ground outside of the main plot.

But really first I should do a proper test of the Haunted House game, as my migraine rather knackered the first one.

Games?

Feb. 4th, 2011 12:53 pm
undyingking: (Default)
I wait with slight terror to find out which of you are going to be getting heavily into these.

Desperation or genius on LJ's part? You decide.

Edited to add: I should have had a sweepstake on who would be the first to crack and sign up.
Impulsiveness, thy name is [livejournal.com profile] kauket...
(Yes, the games page helpfully tells you which of your friends have signed up for stuff.)

Games?

Feb. 4th, 2011 12:53 pm
undyingking: (Default)
I wait with slight terror to find out which of you are going to be getting heavily into these.

Desperation or genius on LJ's part? You decide.

Edited to add: I should have had a sweepstake on who would be the first to crack and sign up.
Impulsiveness, thy name is [livejournal.com profile] kauket...
(Yes, the games page helpfully tells you which of your friends have signed up for stuff.)
undyingking: (Default)
You might like to check out this new Flash game by a friend of mine.  Control a unicyclist, propeller twirling and grapple swinging, as he steals the Tzar's treasure: just the sort of game that I'm hopeless at, but still great fun because of the charming design.
undyingking: (Default)
You might like to check out this new Flash game by a friend of mine.  Control a unicyclist, propeller twirling and grapple swinging, as he steals the Tzar's treasure: just the sort of game that I'm hopeless at, but still great fun because of the charming design.
undyingking: (Default)
(Also known as, closing some tabs.)
  • Democracy Club -- an organization formed to help make the next UK general election more open and accountable, by crowdsourcing info. Affiliated with mySociety and other such. I've signed up -- recommend you do so too, if you are concerned about our political system and want to do more than just whinge.
  • Emails from Crazy People -- what it says. Some are funnier than others.
  • FlickrPoet -- enter the text of a poem (or any text really), it grabs images form Flickr to illustrate it. Can be quite thought-provoking, or at least mildly distracting. A neat implementation of a simple idea.
  • LJ statistics -- I think only for people with paid-for accounts. A useful set of charts showing people viewing your journal (for real or via their friends' page), comments, RSS readers and so on. Not something I'd hugely missed before, but still nice to have it now.
  • Great Christmas decoration -- on Snopes, so you may have already seen it a squillion times. But I laughed.
  • Drench -- a clever, well-implemented Flash game. Warning: can be quite addictive. The design of the "gameishness" of it is not quite right, but the actual play is very good.
  • Dean Ashton retires -- a couple of weeks ago now, but I'm still brooding on it. Feeling sorry for him, but (selfishly) more so for West Ham, who have been robbed of a player who seemed likely to become a club great. A strong and wily targetman, deadly finisher from close and from medium range, and an extremely good provider / manufacturer of scoring opportunities for his teammates too. All he was lacking really was pace over the ground. I just hope we get sacks full of compensation from the FA, as it was in training for an England game that Shaun Wright-Phillips crocked him.
  • Boozecats -- what if cats were booze, or possibly vice versa? A strange idea, but it turns out to be quite visually appealing.
  • Visualizing and predicting prime numbers -- this is a really great data visualization, via the excellent Infosthetics blog. The idea of using it to predict primes is a bit hokey (compare the Wheel of Primes), but it looks terrific.
  • CYOA -- another one from Infosthetics, it includes a number of very visually appealing ways of diagramming a Chose Your Own Adventure, and a discussion of their structures.
  • Harry Keeler on plotting -- Keeler was a rather interesting mystery author of the mid-C20, responsible for such titles as The Case of the Two-Headed Idiot, I Killed Lincoln at 10:13!, The Crimson Cube and The Man with the Magic Eardrums. This article outlines his particular method of constructing what he called web-work plots, and the diagrams thereto. You can read some of his actual fiction here.
  • Oscar Wilde on The Soul of Man under Socialism -- a thought-provoking essay, reminding one that Wilde wasn't just an entertainer. Some questionable reasoning, but very readable of course.
  • Wordnik -- there are heaps of online dictionaries, but this is something different -- it includes recent tweets and Flickr postings, and lots of usage examples. OK, not really very useful, but great fun to browse.
Lots of fairly random stuff there! -- it'd be interesting to know which (if any) of it you found interesting yourself. Do please comment and say!
undyingking: (Default)
Click here http://undyingking.mybrute.com to trounce my purple-haired warrior in a neat little Flash game. It doesn't take much time, you don't get to control your fighter or make moves or anything technical like that! But a pyramid scheme means that you can power me up just by giving it a go (and also presumably power up [livejournal.com profile] chrisvenus, who suckered me in). Go on, you don' have to register or anything...
undyingking: (Default)
A conversation on a friend's journal prompted the discovery of a new game, which all the family can play in the comfort of the comments section of this post.

The idea is to write a brief publisher's blurb for a well-known book, that avoids spoilering it. This is, of course, particularly tricky when a big plot twist, or unexpected transformation in what sort of book it actually is, is a major feature of the enjoyability of the reading experience. You don't want to give it all away, but you also don't want to undersell the book based just on how it initially starts to read.

So there are various ways you can do well at this game. You could write a puzzle blurb which, while entirely accurate about the book's initial setup scenario, so avoids the major twist that it's difficult to work out what book it actually is. You could write a bathos blurb about an amazingly exciting book in such a way that it sounds incredibly dull, because of the avoidance of spoilers. You could try to write a sincere blurb that really does a good job of making people think "this book sounds interesting" while not mentioning the most interesting thing about it. You could decide for yourself what will be most challenging / fun / silly / whatever! Or you can take part from the other end, guessing what the books are that are being blurbed.

And, of course, style points are awarded for sticking closely to the curious kind of prose that book blurbs use.

Here's a couple of my own examples from the earlier conversation, which go for the bathos approach:
  • "Four children go to stay with their great-uncle and are very bored... until one of them discovers something exciting at the back of a large wardrobe."
  • "Alice, feeling hot and sleepy on the riverbank, sees a rabbit go down a hole. But this is no ordinary rabbit..."

And a funnier one, from [livejournal.com profile] onebyone:
  • "A solicitor takes an entire chapter just in travelling to Eastern Europe to do some conveyancing for a local bigwig. The locals are stereotypically superstitious. Towards the end of chapter two, something distinctly uncanny happens, but it would be, like, a total spoiler to say what caused it. Chapter three promises to start getting into the details of the conveyancing. Please read me anyway."
But you can do better! Go on, prove me right.
undyingking: (Default)
Wired is that prestigious magazine of the technological elites, its finger firmly on the cutting edge of all things geeky and zeitgeisty, right?

Apparently there's a new boardgame called Settlers of Catan, which is "poised" to become popular in the US. "Along the way, it's teaching Americans that board games don't have to be either predictable fluff aimed at kids or competitive, hyperintellectual pastimes for eggheads. Through the complex, artful dance of algorithms and probabilities lurking at its core, Settlers manages to be effortlessly fun, intuitively enjoyable, and still intellectually rewarding, a potent combination that's changing the American idea of what a board game can be."

Who'd have thought it? Why have none of us ever heard of this game before -- why have the Germans been keeping it secret for the fourteen years since its launch? What will those fiendish foreigners come up with next?
undyingking: (Default)
Top trumps with typefaces. Silly but brilliant, I shall get this when I'm next feeling self-indulgently frivolous.
undyingking: (Default)
You may have been idly wondering why I haven't run my usual Premiership prediction game this season. (Or of course you may be relieved, in which case you'll probably want to skip the rest of this post too.)

I think the Premiership race is going to be even more tedious this year than it has for the last few. It looks like Chelsea will get back ahead of Man Utd, and it's seems likely Liverpool will overtake Arsenal. Spurs or maybe Pompey for 5th, with Villa, Blackburn and Everton all falling away. Maybe a surprise strong showing from Sunderland or Newcastle. That's about as exciting as it'll get.

I have to admit though that the reason I'm so unenthused is because of deep sickening trepidation about West Ham's season to come. This is the most pessimistic I've been at season kickoff since the pre-Redknapp days. I fully expect us to be struggling to avoid relegation, and can only hope that there'll be three sides sufficiently worse.

How has this happened, after finishing solidly in the top half last year? Since then we've managed to alienate our best goalkeeper and sell his only decent backup; our only purchase of the summer looked hopelessly outclassed on Sunday; we've sold one of our first-choice centre-halves, despite already being hopelessly short there -- and a whole gang of lesser squad members; we've had to pay something like £6M just to get rid of one particularly disappointing signing; and two of the most expensive players in the club's history are still injured, having played less than a dozen games between them since signing last year. I could go on.

It's clear that the owners have basically fouled up hideously financially; spending far more money than they could afford, and seeking to claw back as much of it as they can, now that the credit crunch has hit their bank. Curbishley didn't help, sloshing that money into notoriously injury-prone players like Bellamy and Dyer. After just two games he's already got that hunted expression we normally assocate with January onwards. I suspect the only thing that may keep him in post is if they can't afford to fire him.

The only bright aspect is that it looks like a West Ham fan may be the next ruler of the soi-disant free world. I son't suppose that'll really help much, but at least it's better than Arsenal's most famous supporter, whose name differs by only one letter.

Ludocity

Jul. 29th, 2008 10:31 am
undyingking: (Default)
This should be of interest to at least several of you (and the organizers are probably known to some of you too) -- a new wiki for what are basically party games. Either ongoing games in the background at a party for other things, or icebreakers, or games that can occupy the whole of a suitably-themed party... you know the kind of thing, or if you don't, click through to find out.
undyingking: (Default)
A few things that have caught my eye just lately:
  • PMOG, The Passively Multiplayer Online Game -- mentioned by [livejournal.com profile] killalla, basically a way of making ar$ing around on the Web more fun. Needs Firefox. See also [livejournal.com profile] pmog.
  • What does atheism mean to you? Interesting finding from the Pew Foundation that an impressive 15% of US atheists are either absolutely or fairly certain that there is a God. (As are a mighty 40% of agnostics.)
  • Nice little film of a mechanical escalator device. I just think this is a really ingenious design.
  • Labrador have released their free 2008 Summer Sampler, to which I can't find a link on their site, but here's a direct link to the zip itself. "A summerish mix of recent favourites from The Sound of Arrows, The Radio Dept. and Club 8, lost classics from Acid House Kings, Caroline Soul and Chasing Dorotea and sun packed songs by [ingenting] and lots more." Many of the 30 songs will already be familiar if you know Labrador stuff, but if not then you really should.
  • Typetester is a neat little online utility that allows you easily to compare your chosen sample text in a variety of fonts, spacings, colours, weights etc. I anticipate using this a lot.
  • Relatedly, see your chosen text as smoke, droplets, lovehearts, fireworks etc, here. Pretty!
  • This looks like a good recipe for elderflower cordial, which now is the time to make. Anyone tried doing so?
  • Does reading Stephen R Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books make you feel as gelidly preterite as a carious scoria? It does me, but this useful page helps make sense of it all.
  • Conservapedia has posted this email exchange with evolutionary microbiologist Professor Robert Lenski (longish, but worth reading). Good example of how a scientist can comprehensively demolish an idiotic opponent. I can only guess that one of the other Conservapedia editors hates Schlafly.
That'll probably do for now!
undyingking: (Default)
I was amused by the latest from the great Lore Fitzgerald Sjoberg:

"Both good and bad news. The good news is that we have discovered an actual Frummosh-dynasty-spiked, poisoned pit trap in the dungeon! The bad news is that Bill's bodily fluids have tainted the find. I will be adding a stern reprimand to his posthumous evaluation."
undyingking: (Default)
Goodbye Gary Gygax, it seems.

Like most people of my sort of age, he provided my introduction to role-playing. We may have moved onwards and outwards, but we can still thank him for our beginnings.

I met him a couple of times at Gamesfairs, when he was still with TSR. Being young and cocky, I did not pay him as much respect as I later thought I probably should have. But he seemed like a pleasant chap, and took the teasing in very good part.

I don't really know what he'd been up to in recent years, but I hope he was able to put the various disputes etc behind him and look happily over what he achieved.
undyingking: (Default)
6th level! That's pretty cool. Am I party leader?

"can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable"

Yeah, right, Rand-boy. I'll limit your actions with an Explosive Runes if you don't STFU.



I Am A: Neutral Good Human Sorcerer (6th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-14

Dexterity-10

Constitution-13

Intelligence-16

Wisdom-14

Charisma-13


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

undyingking: (Default)
If you haven't already seen this, you might like to give it a go -- not just because of the free rice aspect, but because it's a fun and well-designed game.

Get three in a row right and you go up a level -- get one wrong and you go down a level. At higher levels you get asked more difficult words, difficulty being assessed by the proportion of previous contestants who've got them wrong.

50 is the highest level, so if you can stay there for any length of time, you're doing pretty well. My longest run at 50 was 4 words. Beat that if you dare!

And you'll learn lots of interesting (but, for the most part, practically useless) words.

(Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] watervole for pointing me at it!)
undyingking: (Default)
World Freedom Atlas is a terrific Flash thingy which displays various measures of political freedom, corruption, terror, lifespan, etc, as world maps. You can display variables agains tone another, show changes over time, etc -- all very beautiful and clear. Easy to spend hours mesing around with it. Interesting to compare eg. the Amnesty International vs the US State Dept measure of political terro by country. And the Hobbes Index, indicating to what extent life is short, nasty, solitary, poor and brutish.

WikiDashboard is a Wikipedia-analysing tool. "The idea is that if we provide social transparency and enable attribution of work to individual workers in Wikipedia, then this will eventually result in increased credibility and trust in the page content, and therefore higher levels of trust in Wikipedia." They do this by showing, for each page, a neat visual summary of which users have edited it most, and when. The idea is that you can then check up on those users and see if their other eidts suggest hobbyhorses. Not a tool that will transofrm Wikipedia into a wonderful paradise, but useful enough that I think it would be worth building into it.

Ktrak, for a bike that thinks it's a snowmobile. Convertyour bike with one of their kits, replacing the wheels with a cat track at the back and a ski at the front. I suspect going uphill would be fairly hard work...

The TV Tropes Wiki is a home for plot tropes used not just in TV but also in a variety of other media. Originated as a tool for scriptwriters, but fun just to browse around. For example, see For Want of a Nail vs In Spite of a Nail.

Vatican, the board game -- unlock the secrets of how men become Pope! And it is always men these days, after that nasty business with Pope Joan. "VATICAN, historically accurate, is more compelling than the depictions of the Catholic Church in popular culture. Reality and truth are always more interesting than fiction... VATICAN is a fascinating way for all to understand a central point of Catholic identity, and will appeal to a wide variety of audiences, whatever their religious preferences." The users on BoardGameGeek are not very flattering about it, but then they're probably heretics who are going to burn in hell.
undyingking: (Default)
This is quite a funny idea, I thought. Do any ofyou still play Minesweeper?

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