Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thinking About How to Think About Aliens

Here's an artist's rendering of Kepler 452b, the first we've found of an Earth-like planet in the "Goldilocks Zone" that could support life. It might not, but it could. As far as we yet know, it has all the advantages Earth had for life to start. And it's "only" 1,400 light-years away.

Now what about KIC 8462852? That's the star I mentioned here, the one with weird light signatures. It's not like any evidence of a planet we've seen while looking for the "mini-eclipses" that betray their presence. Some say it might be evidence of some alien super-structures orbiting the star. Others say that's hooey and there's a natural explanation. Still others, like this scientist right here, think it's probably not aliens, but that snickering at the possibility is an unhelpful and unscientific thing for scientists to do. I agree.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wonderland Arcade

My friend Ryan, who knows a thing or two about Kansas City history, posted this story on kcrag, and shared it on the board for our gaming group. This is the story of an awesome coin-operated pre-digital arcade in Kansas City back in the day. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Formula D meets Circus Maximus

Is this cool or what?

I've been playing a lot of Formula D lately. It's simple, straightforward, and makes a great game for those Family Game Nights when not everyone at the table wants to spend four and a half hours closing all the gates in Arkham.

I've also got a ton of little miniature chariots culled from one of the 6,000 versions of RISK. Being one of the 12 people in the world who was a big fan of this old X-Box game, you can see where my mind started going...

I found that image of the board for the game Circus Maximus, which was released in 1979. I'd never heard of it and I don't think it's available today. I can infer some of the rules from the tables surrounding this track, but what I'd really like to do is adapt Formula D rules for this, using my otherwise-useless chariot miniatures.

Even better for that, some joker has made this, which should be even more fun and give plenty of excuses to roll that Danger Die.

If I ever get around to making this conversion happen, I'll let you know with the sound of brazen trumpets.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Temple of Quechula Revealed!

Drain a reservoir in Chiapas, Mexico, and you get this:

Pretty cool, huh? This Temple of Santiago, also called Quechula, emerges every so often from a reservoir created by a dam in the late 1960s. It was abandoned in the late 1700s due to a plague, but was constructed by a heroic friar who exposed and fought against colonial slavery. Also pretty cool. I'd tell you all about it, but you can read it all right here. Of course, the gamer in me knows this place is just full of treasure and, probably, supernatural guardians. Thanks Connor McAnally for the link!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Weirdest Star in the Galaxy...?

It appears scientists have found a star (you can't see it with the naked eye) between the constellations of Cygnus (the swan) and Lyra (the harp) that has a whole lot of stuff orbiting it. It's recent. Could be an impact. Could be a sea of comets sucked in by a passing star. It could be massive orbiting constructs constructed by an alien civilization. Whatever it is, it's nothing like any other star anyone has ever studied. Apparently scientists are trying to get more time on the best telescopes to study it more closely. Oh please let it be aliens.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TSR's Old Marvel Game is Free and Clear!

Yep, it's true, and it's all right here, plus a whole lot more.

From the old-school gamers group on facebook: "This is from a very reliable source. The Marvel Super Heroes rpg by TSR, the PDFs are legal to download for free. David Edward Martin wrote one of my favorite books for MSH the Ultimate Powers Book, and I told him so that is why he thanks me for the complement. David Edward Martin - 'Mitch,I thanks for the complement. Don't worry about downloading any of the Marvel game books. The game is as incredibly, permanently defunct as the "TSR" trademark. Hasbro-Kenner-MiltonBradley has lost any interest in it. Back before Wizards of the Coast was digested, they knew of the online copies and expressed tacit approval.' This site is the legal online archive for everything made for MSH in PDF form all the books are in the download section.

This was the first superhero game I ever played and it was the first game at all I played with what turned out to be my first long-term gaming group. I remember nothing about the rules, but in looking at the character profiles on the site, I see how easy it would be to fit them into some Fudge-like context (the original game wasn't).

Anyway, this is worth perusing just for the HUGE list of superhero stats - not only from Marvel but from pretty much everywhere else. Check it out.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gilgamesh: The Director's Cut

So Oliver Stone can't finish Alexander and a new Blade Runner cut surfaces once a decade. Turns out even the oldest story in the world can get a minor revision. My friend Randall Munden posted a link to this story. Apparently they found 20 new lines of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Iraq. The epic is considered to be the oldest known work of literature - at all - and it basically deals with a superhero, which is cool. Here's another story from the Smithsonian.

Here's Gilgamesh kicking some ass.

I've not read the epic of Gilgamesh, but it might be about time. With his pal Enkidu, we see the beginning of the "buddy adventure," and it's my understanding there's a bunch of synergy with Old Testament stuff. At any rate, this is proof the right kind of fantasy novel never gets old.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Jackasses of History Bathroom Reader" Coming Soon!

It's got everything ever written on this site, plus a whole lot more. Here's a sneak peak of the cover. I hope it will be "live" by the end of October.