Artwork by CitrusKing46
Hello, and welcome to another edition of Robotic Gaming Monthly, Topless Robot's monthly column devoted to the recent happenings, reviews of recent releases, and trailers in gaming! This time around we ask such questions as "Should the major players in the gaming industry think smaller?", "Does Life is Strange show any promise?" and "Do giant purple bunnies really make the best mayoral candidates?" Let's head in and see what the answers to those questions and many others are!More >>
Every Dungeon Master has experienced that dread moment when the players are about to arrive, but you haven't had sufficient prep time to put together the adventure they'll be playing. Sometimes this is due to writer's block. Most gaming groups have the same person DM the majority of adventures, and coming up with stories week after week can be difficult. This is often where professionally published adventures come in very handy, but most groups have a "completist" player who has purchased and read every adventure. What is a Dungeon Master to do?
Sorry, but it's hard not to be cynical, knowing full well that if the new all-female Ghostbusters takes off there will be merchandise galore, probably including a board game. And with that in mind, it's equally hard to ignore the fact that none of the proposed figurines for Cryptozoic's Kickstartering board game is a female character - no Dana, Janine, or Gozer in "prehistoric bitch" mode.
That said, it looks like it could be pretty fun - the crowdfunding aspect is apparently so that the game can come loaded with extras that a more corporate-mandated product would have to cut back on. It will apparently feature characters from the comics, movies and cartoons, and the designs are comic-based caricatures to avoid likeness issues.
For extra-realistic fun, declare the Spengler figure unplayable, hide the Venkman somewhere nobody can find him, and let whoever's playing Stantz hog the dice for about 20 years as he tells everyone else his various plans for winning, then fails to execute any of them.
2014 ended three weeks ago, but our wrap-ups of 2014's best and worst ended yesterday. It's fair to say we consumed a lot of entertainment, enjoyed many things and had almost as much fun vocally destroying the things we didn't like so much. And as I hope was evident, not every Topless Robot contributor had the same ideas about what those things were.
Which is why, as we look to the year ahead, I've gathered together as many of our regular contributors as possible for this list, in which they all describe what they're geeked out about for 2015. From board games to RPGs, action figures to adaptations - and in one case, even the rumors we long to hear - it's a varied, insightful and excitable sneak peek.More >>
Geek & Sundry Somehow, this show continues to not make this list. But Wil Wheaton's smug face does.
RPGs are a somewhat unique medium in that there is very little agreement about the good and the bad. For everyone that hates a setting or system, there are others who completely love it and lull their newborns to sleep by reading to them from the main rulebook. Every RPG system seems to appeal to someone, even if it's just a small group of people with very similar ideas on how fantasy swords should work. Also, RPG fans occasionally seem to hate buying things. Entire enclaves exist on the web of angry roleplayers that believe all RPG development stopped after their favorite edition, claiming everything that came afterward was nothing but a money grab.
Personally, I disagree. I like RPGs and find them inexpensive, good returns for value and don't mind getting new editions after 5 years or more. I am generally well-disposed to new releases and assume someone, somewhere, will like them. One only needs to go to a gaming convention and find that one guy in the corner running his favorite RPG from 1986 to confirm that there is some truth to this. However, this isn't to say that all is roses and honey in the RPG world. Every year there are things that are bad, and things that just aren't good. Read on for the 9 worst moments in RPGs this past year.More >>
It is a golden age for fans of the tabletop gaming hobby. The past couple of years have seen an explosion of wonderful games and game related products and 2014 is the best so far. When the "Years it was Great to be a Gamer" Hall of Fame voters chose the years they will honor, 2014 will go down in history as the Babe Ruth of hobby gaming offering. Okay...if you consider Kickstarter as the hobby gaming equivalent of PEDs, it's the Barry Bonds of years, but that's something truly impressive. Unless you won the lottery, there were more products that are worth your time and money released last year than you have either the time or the money to enjoy. Even then, you probably wouldn't have the time to enjoy them.
Putting together a list of the best hobby game, and game related, products of 2014 wasn't an easy task. In order to make the list manageable, I gave myself three rules. First, I was going to group related products. Second, I allowed myself to select 21 products instead of a more reasonable 10. Third, I didn't select any official Pathfinder gaming material. I created that third rule because if I didn't, the list could have easily been filled with nothing but Pathfinder stuff. Paizo put out some great products this year, but Topless Robot readers already know that.
Here are 21 products I think made 2014 the best year ever to be a tabletop gamer.
On November 28, the entire world waited with bated breath for the new Star Wars trailer to give us our first glimpse into a Lucas-free galaxy far, far away. Despite the lack of story or character information, the trailer showed that they at least got the aesthetic of the film right, although they didn't really have to: even if the film were just two hours of C3-P0 lost in a Walmart shouting "R2-D2, where are you?", it would still make a billion dollars at the box office. But with all of the good will that the trailer has gathered, there is one annoying thing that is causing fans on the Internet to complain...More >>
Here is a sad fact we all must face: There is a sixth Resident Evil film planned. It's intended to the the final film in the unloved-by-just-about-everyone franchise (the average Tomatometer approval rating on the existing five is 26%), but we, as audiences, have allowed this thing to continue. And here's the most chilling thing of all: The first Resident Evil film is considered one of the high watermarks when it comes to video-game-to-movie adaptations. Talking to peers, I have discovered that Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat are considered the best video game movies made to date. If those are the cinema classics of the genre, then perhaps the genre needs to, ahem, step up its game.More >>
Solarbotics Happy Nerdy Holidays
It's hard to ask for RPG gifts for Christmas. The social stigma is fading year by year, so I no longer fear my parents calling an exorcist over my wish list, but there's still a maze of editions, similar-sounding games and supplements to ask people to dig through. This is in addition to the fact that RPGs still tend to be a little bit hard to find; arguably harder to find now than they were fifteen or so years ago before Barnes & Noble and Borders replaced so many independent booksellers...before closing most of their own locations..
People only have so much spare time, and playing more than one or two systems at once is pretty difficult; even if someone played two different games every week they would be playing at most 8-10 different games in a month, which is only a tiny portion of the massive amount of games available these days. Especially with Kickstarter helping to launch more RPGs than ever and many companies releasing their back catalogs through DrivethruRPG. The point being that it can be harder to find the right RPG for someone than finding a good costume in the New 52.
With all of that said, the list that follows tries to work around these challenges by providing ten system-neutral gifts for the RPG fan in your life. Even if that person is you. I don't judge. Even if I did judge, I probably wouldn't judge this time since I've already bought a lot of these things. They're pretty awesome.
Sam Howzit, Flickr
Man, remember arcades? The noise of cabinets trying to outdo one another with their crappy blown-out speakers, the flashing lights, the Liquid Paper curse-words on the machines, the drug deals... arcades were the bomb.