Saturday, August 27, 2022

Orks Be Doing Ork Things

In the middle of yet another soccer tournament (both kids) which started yesterday, but did have a chance to watch the final Seahawks preseason game last night.

Orks. Back at it.

Blood Bowl coaches know full well that you don' can't...rely on orks to have a great passing attack. Great defense, pounding run game...yes and yes. But in the "modern" Blood Bowl game, putting your hopes in the stone-hands of orcish receivers (not to mention thick-headed decision making of orcish quarterbacks) is a non-starter. And if you have any doubt about it, just look at the QB "competition" that went on in preseason this year as the 'Hawks attempt to replace aging (and now overpaid prima donna) goblin star Russell Wilson.

Geno Smith. Drew Lock. Jacob Eason.

Bad, bad orks.

It doesn't matter that the team has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, star players both. Everything around them is ork. Receivers #3 through #5 (well, really, all the receivers just vying for a spot on the 53-man roster)...typical goblins and lineorks. But the QBs...the QBs.

Did you know that the Seahawks are the only coaching staff in the NFC that do not have a former quarterback in some coaching capacity. Not as a head coach, OC, QB coach, or even some other assistant coach. How do you coach a player to play the position of quarterback in the NFL when no one on the staff has any experience playing the position?

Answer: you don't. Because you don't need to. They're orks.

We loves Geno Smith, my Precious, but he is a career backup. Naming him the starter for a team that hopes to get back to the playoffs Pete Carroll is showing his green bloodedness. Again.

A decade of star quarterbacking from Wilson never scrubbed the memories of Charlie Whitehurst from my mind's eye...the archetypal "Checkdown Charlie" (semi-affectionately known in some parts as "Clipboard Jesus" based on his appearance and long-practiced role of standing on the sidelines as a stalwart QB2...or QB3). Pete Carroll duly proclaimed at the beginning of the 2011 NFL season that they had no reason to trade or draft for a new QB (to replace pro-bowler Matt Hasselbeck, released in the off-season), because they HAD their QB in the form of Whitehurst and could win with him just playing "solid" football, in front of a great running game and fantastic defense.

The Seahawks went 7-9, missed the playoffs, and would (very fortunately) draft Russell Wilson in the next season. On the way to that, Whitehurst around midseason for a dude with a torn pectoral muscle

The Geno Smith experiment will be Whitehurst 2.0.

Do I need to cite stats for this. Probably not...the number of people reading this post who care about the Seahawks, their quarterback situation, and Blood Bowl in equal measure are probably, um, few. Probably just me. Which is, you know...fine. Nerds gotta' be nerds, y'all. But for the curious, Geno's stats passing stats for this preseason (three games), which won him the job as a starting quarterback for an NFL team (only 32 of those in the world) boil down to:

23/39, 256 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 4 sacks (36 yards)

No touchdowns. An average of 6.6 yards per passing attempt (not including some terrific "yards after catch" from some of his checkdown throws to running backs). An aversion to risk. A tendency to hang onto the ball and take sacks.

But it's the "zero interceptions" that Carroll cares about. Never mind that preseason is ALWAYS the height of Smith's season potential, when he faces vanilla defenses, and has easy reads to make. Never mind that he choked away multiple games last season (in relief of the injured Wilson), having unforgivable turnovers (picks and strip sacks) in the 4th quarter. Never mind that his ONLY won a single regular season game (playing as a starter) in the last five years.

Never mind that the Seahawks CUT Smith in the off-season, allowed him to swim the waters of free agency, and then signed him back on a one year deal. And then handed him the job. 


I have to go wake up the kids now for day 2 of the soccer tournament. Thank goodness. And thank goodness for the Mariners and the Storm. JB out.

[by the way: there is no need for me to post BB stat lines for Geno Smith. If you want to include a Geno Smith in your Seahawk-themed Blood Bowl team, the basic (unaltered) Ork thrower will suffice. The same holds true for your Drew Lock backup...just make sure you chuck a lot of long balls for picks when desperation time sets in and your team is trying  ANYthing to generate offense. Oh...and good luck with that]

Thursday, August 25, 2022


I realize my last post was a bit negative and I hate just having that up on the blog as the last thing I've written. I got three-quarters of the way through a new post on Monday before realizing that it, too, had veered from positivity into melancholy.

I'm just really busy lately, folks. Crazy for a guy not putting in the 40 hour/week grind, but...yeah. Busy. And I seem to be way behind in everything.

More later. I hope everyone's having a good Friday and the weekend turns out pleasant for those of you who are finally getting a break from the weekly work.

Chin up and best wishes.
: )

Friday, August 19, 2022

One D&D To Rule Them All

It is exactly 12:21am, PST as I start this post.


I've been busy folks, not dead...just in case folks are wondering. Lots of family (i.e. kid, i.e. soccer) stuff.  Things are fine around my parts, a few tertiary deaths and Covid outbreaks aside. Not in my household...for whatever reason, I've been blessed so far. Thank goodness.

ANYway. Let me tell you about my day.

Teaching newbies AD&D. Had six kids around the table today: Diego, Sofia, Maceo, Winston, Jacob, and Julia. Ages of children: 11, 11, 11, 10, 9, 8. Diego, my son, is the oldest; Sofia, my daughter, is the youngest. I was the DM (duh). Because half the players were new, we all went through the character creation process together, making first level characters. Ended up with two clerics, a paladin, a ranger, a magic-user, and an elven assassin (because elves are straight villains y'all). 

Truthfully, this was Winston's SECOND foray into D&D at the Becker Household, but his original character was killed by an adolescent owlbear some 40 minutes into play so, yeah, he's still a rookie.

DMing kids can, challenging at times, but it's fun, too. When you skim the intro for them in about six sentences (because children have even shorter attention spans than adults), and they spontaneously break into fist-pumping chants of "TREASURE! TREASURE! TREASURE!" you know that you're playing the game right. I ran them through B1: In Search of the Unknown, pretty much straight out of the box I bought it in...literally, it even had the monsters and treasures already penned in by the previous owner, and I didn't bother changing them.

[please let me say for the record that Mike Carr deserves to be drawn-and-quartered for using Roman numerals as a keying mechanism...unless he plans on paying for my laser-eye surgery anyway]

They loved it. All of it. They were cooperative with each other, shared gold, tried to work as a team, tried to do stupid shit, got themselves in trouble, somehow managed to find their way out of it okay, and everyone stayed alive. Not much treasure in B1, but the encounters are VERY forgiving.

We played from 1pm till 5pm. There were healthy snacks: fruit and veg and crackers and water and juice. About midway through the kids took a 40 minute break to have a pillow fight upstairs while I cracked a beer on the sly, lush that I am. Then they came back for more.

Kids don't want fucking video games. They want to play and use their imagination. They want to be rambunctious / times. They want to be empowered to use their times. They want the support of supportive adults in safe spaces.

I don't know...D&D, even "advanced" D&D, isn't really rocket science. At least, I don't see it as such. It's just poorly understood, poorly explained, and...often...poorly played.

SO...I saw Tim's post about the launch of One D&D this evening, though I didn't have a chance to watch the actual video till after folks had went to bed (fam was up till 11ish, watching disk two of the extend Fellowship of the Ring...go figure).  

Oh. My. 

You know, when Xbox moved to Xbox 360 and then to Xbox One there was a purpose and reason behind their branding (you can read about the etymology here, if you care). D&D moving from version 5E ("D&D Next") to One D&D is...just more stupid shit. There is a LOT of stupid shit here. Lots. 

So much stupid. 

And that's (*sigh*) fine. People spend their money on all sorts of stupid things these days. Beer, for example...I spend entirely too much money on it, as I tend to buy the expensive stuff (though I try to get it on sale) and drink it far, far too quickly (it's been a hot summer). So people want to fall for the shtick one more time and pony up the cash for the NEW IMPROVED version of D&D...whatever. Do what you want. I just bought Trent Smith's Heroic Legendarium a month or two ago (in printed hardcover!) and the only thing I'm using it for is the corrected ACs and psionic points for MM entries (so I don't have to do the work myself). We all have "stupid" that we throw our money at.

But it's GALLING to listen to the, "experienced professional game designers" this video talking about the what and why of this One D&D thing. Selling it. Selling the shit out of it. Because, make no mistake, this is all about selling folks a product in order to put money in the company coffers. Here are the pertinent bits:

[2:05] "We're revising the major core rule books that every player uses: the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, the Monster Manual."

[2:32] "That's what 2024 holds is this promise of getting new versions of the books that are the game you know but reflect where the game is presently."

[2:42] "One D&D has three pillars and one is the, uh, rule set which is built on the base of Fifth edition, but updated."

The 'second pillar' is "D&D Beyond," of which I know little, but appears to be an additional revenue stream for the company based on doing work for players that is inconvenient, perhaps because of shoddy rule construction. Okay.

The final pillar appears to be the creation of a "digital playspace" that is "still in the early days of development"...because we want to be able to have a video game-like experience because we simply cannot pull ourselves away from our screens? Or something? What? 

I don't know who this, professional game (he shows up at 4:28) but here's what he has to say:
"We chose the Unreal Engine for several reasons. Reason number one: make it look dope. That's the first thing. Number two is: take care of the lazy DM. 'Cause we're all lazy DMs (*laughs*)."
I guess I'M the idiot here, because all this sounds like stupid, stupid shit. When figuring out where characters were in the imaginary gamespace of today's game, I took three, spare 3x5 cards, cut them in half, and had everyone write their character name on a square. Then I told them to arrange the cards on the table how they were walking. The guy with a light source got a die placed on his card so I could not only keep track of illumination, but turn the die as the fuel got used up (works better for torches...with a D6...than lanterns, but they ended up throwing the lantern at the first monster encounter when ambushed by a pack of giant rats). Would it have worked better to have virtual minis in an "immersive digital environment?" Would it have helped to players' imagination to have digital images fed into their brain from a finite repository of images? Probably not.

All this is part of the general plan to make money documented extensively by others...involves REselling core books to the same customer base every 6-10 years. That's all this is. It has nothing to do with creating more "inclusivity" by helping women and/or people of color see "heroic characters" that resemble themselves...the art directors have been including illustrations of non-white, non-male adventurers since at least the days of 2nd edition (I have the books and can cite page numbers if you like). The video implying that THIS new edition will rectify some sort of inequity/discrepancy is clearly a bogus is the rope-a-dope, shit-wrangling of 5E being "the most stable rule platform yet" that they are simply ADDING TO, for YOUR BENEFIT.

Sure, suckers. So why revise the core books and sell them to us again? Why not just publish an addendum of sorts. Oh, already DID ("Tasha's Hideous Hardcover" or whatever it's called). Now, you're just going to cut-and-paste that into the core books and have everyone buy the same thing again. I know this hustle...Siembieda's been running a stripped down version of the same scam for YEARS.

At least Palladium always provides SOME new content.

Mm-mm-mm. Capitalism sucks and, unfortunately, is the world we live in. Astounding ignorance in the masses ALSO sucks and, unfortunately, is the world we live in. I'm sure "One D&D" will sell fine (at least at first), dredging the wallets of the same marks that always get caught (plus a couple extra)...and, you know, that's probably fine., "professional game designers"...need to eat, too, right? Support those fine folks at WotC that are #LivingTheDream!

But it IS sad, AND galling, that this is even a thing. I was up in Edmonds on Wednesday at Around the Table Games, pawing through the "used" RPG section with my kids, looking for old AD&D stuff; Diego picked up a copy of the 1986 Book of Lairs to throw some mayhem in his own campaign. While we were there, a woman with her two young daughters (younger than D, older than Sofia) came in and purchased a copy of D&D Essentials...clearly for the girls who (like my kids) were also fawning all over the dice racks.

I couldn't help but feel (a little) bad for them. I mean, I already know how that story goes.

D&D is a great game. Personally, I feel you get the maximum benefit from the advanced (first edition) version, but a lot of people feel it looks too ancent/clunky to learn. Here are the number of children under age 13 that I've successfully taught the game (I'll include myself):

Me, Jocelyn, Jason, Scott, Matt, Rob, Adam, Brandon, Spencer, Zach, Diego, Kieran, Maceo, Caro, Eileen, Nicholas, Sonya, Max, Sofia, Winston, Jacob, Julia

[all right, all right...there's a little fibbing there. Spencer and Zack were ONLY taught B/X, and Sonya and Max were taught OD&D, i.e. AD&D Lite. However, the others all stand]

'Course, if you wanted to count the kids who've been taught by the kids I've taught, the coaching tree's got a few more names on it, including Crystal, Manny, Stina, Ryan, Evan, Evie, and Milana. Pretty respectable, considering the MAJORITY of these kids were taught after the game was out of print.

All right, that's enough. It's after 2am, and I've had my say. I'll post again when I can.

Peace, folks.